Eagle Scout project helps 4-H kids | VailDaily.com

Eagle Scout project helps 4-H kids

Tamara Miller
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyRonnie Landenburger, 13, holds a board waiting to be tended Saturday while rebuilding livestock pens with his 4-H group. This project was inspired by local 14-year-old Zeb Maloney.

GYPSUM – Zeb Maloney’s Eagle Scout project couldn’t have come at a better time for some county kids.While county leaders search for a temporary home for 4-H livestock, the 14-year-old Gypsum resident is restoring some decrepit livestock pens at an old ranch near Gypsum. When finished, the 16 pens will provide shelter for 4-H participants who need a place to house some of their animals.”I think it will be really nice for the kids who don’t have enough space,” Zeb said. “They can still do 4-H and that will be really cool.”The 4-H program continues to grow, attracting children who don’t live on ranches, said Nancy Foster, the local office manager for the Colorado State University Extension. Those children search for space to store their animals, but they fill up quickly. There is a waiting list, Foster said.

Many of them stored their livestock in a red barn located on the Eagle County Fairgrounds. That barn was destroyed to make way for a gravel pit, making space constraints even worse. In the meantime, the animals have been in a livestock barn. But they will have to be moved soon to make way for several upcoming events, including the Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed.County commissioners are considering buying portable sheds to store some livestock animals, or borrowing a barn from a local developer. Zeb’s project will give some of those children – particularly those who live in Gypsum – another option, Foster said. Zeb was inspired to do the project out of his own love for 4-H, said Michelle Maloney, Zeb’s mother. “He really just wanted to do a project so that he could serve that community,” she said. Along the way, Zeb has raised almost $5,000 to pay for materials and equipment, and has put hundreds of hours into doing the work. “We’ve taken apart the old pig pens and try to use as much of them as we can,” he said.

There will be a concrete pad near the pens so 4-H kids have a place to shave their animals and wash them. There also will be a training area in the middle, allowing the kids to practice handling the animals. Appearance and a child’s ability to handle the animal are important when they are judged during the summer fair, as well as when they are auctioned off during the Junior Livestock Auction.Zeb hopes to be finished by Sunday. The pens should be ready for animals by the next day, he said.”The livestock projects are our biggest thing,” Foster said. “We have a lot of other projects … but there’s so much growth opportunity for the kids for the livestock projects because of the responsibility that it requires.”Becoming an Eagle Scout is the highest ranking in the national Boy Scouts program, Zeb said. To achieve the ranking, Zeb’s project must benefit the community, requires at least 100 hours of service and involves fund-raising.It may be safe to say, Zeb has earned the distinction.

“We are so proud of him,” Maloney said. “When we started out we didn’t think it would be this big of a project. Especially in light of the red barn being taken down, it’s a perfect time for this.”Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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