Canyon Lake resident and Boy Scout Jack Robinson, 15, wanted to give something back to the community.
He was also trying to find a service project to help him earn Eagle Designation, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts. Ever since he joined the Cub Scouts as Bear in Pack 163 in third grade, he was told that Eagle Scout was the ultimate goal the scouts want to get to.
“It’s just the ultimate destination,” Jack said.
Fortunately, his mother, Jean is on the board of the Water-Oriented Recreation District of Comal County, a park and recreation district created by the Texas Legislature in 1987 and voted for by Comal County residents in 1988. Jack approached her about doing a project to help clean up trash by the river.
“She asked if they had anything that I could do, and I love the river,” Jack said. “So, keeping it clean, because it gets pretty trashy in certain places, I really love the idea.”
Jack knew one way to help keep the Guadalupe River clean would be to make trash collection easier for visitors by creating stations where they could get a mesh litter bag. He said there were boxes in Guadalupe State Park that were made from cheap lumber, so the idea was based off that.
The boxes he wanted to create would be of composite deck boards, a wood board alternative that is low maintenance and has a longer lifespan. It is also manmade and consists of recycled wood fibers and recycled plastic, making it durable and prevents from rotting.
“I didn’t want to use cheap wood, that would only last a year or two” Jack said. “I wanted something that would last years, and they wouldn’t have to keep replacing it.”
The boxes also have stainless steel hardware for durability and a soft-close hinge so people would not injure their fingers or hands.
“My name was going to be on it, so I wanted it to be the best it could be,” he said.
Jean said she was proud her son wanted to do something with a focus on the community.
“I was appreciative that WORD would provide this opportunity for a service project that would make a significant impact,” Jean said. “We have seen the number of people using the mesh bags and the collection of trash increased significantly.”
In fact, she said Jack and his father went to check on a box and they ran into three girls returning a mesh bag because they couldn’t find any trash to pick up.
Despite its success, Jack said he doesn’t plan to expand the project to other areas in Comal County, but that other Boy Scouts are free to do so.
“My project was kind of a like a prototype for (WORD) to build off of,” Jack said. “They wanted somebody to figure out the boxes so I kind of lit the foundation on that.”
Melissa Welch-Lamoreaux, owner of Loud & Clear Communications, said the five litter bag boxes are located along the Guadalupe River at the entrance to The Horseshoe, Nichol’s Landing Park, as well as at trailheads at Overlook Park and South Guadalupe River hiking trail.
The litter bag boxes are also part of WORD’s Stash Your Trash program. The program works on having a litter-free river, lake and community by educating people and giving the community opportunities to reduce litter.
“The Stash Your Trash program employs street teams along the Guadalupe River at the Horseshoe, Overlook Park, Comal Park and at various locations throughout the WORD service area to encourage water and outdoor enthusiasts to use the yellow mesh bags for trash,” Welch-Lamoreaux said.
As for Eagle Scout, Jack is a candidate. Once he achieves it and is confirmed, he said he will live out the Scout motto.
“Live up to what the eagle is, don’t try to be above it, go above and beyond, do 100% in everything, and try not to do anything less,” he said.
For more information on WORD’s Stash Your Trash program, visit wordcc.com/.