Texana Center officials were delighted to receive the news that Spencer Reitz had not only earned his Eagle Scout award but also received the Bronze Palm.
To earn this distinction the Scout must be active in their troop for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout and earn five additional merit badges beyond those required for the Eagle Scout Award which requires 21 merit badges.
Reitz, of Troop 1631, chose Texana Center for his Eagle Scout project. The project was to enhance an existing playground area at the Children’s Center for Autism. He was asked to paint a track around the play area for bicycles and scooters, a basketball semi-circle by the basketball hoop and also to include several games; hopscotch, hangman, tic-tac-toe and four square.
Spencer had to use a lot of math to workout distance, size and symmetry. Texana also requested that these be painted in bright primary colors, so he went to Sherwin Williams who donated one gallon of paint for every gallon he purchased and gave him a discount on the paint he bought, he was very grateful for that break. He came to Texana many times, as he first had to power wash the area and fill in several cracks in the concrete before beginning the painting.
The weather did not cooperate and he was rained off a couple of times but he persevered and completed the project. When everything was finished he held a grand opening for the play area, bringing refreshments for the children and presented Ellen Catoe, senior manager of the Children’s Center for Autism, with chalk and bean bags for the games.
Children with autism may enjoy playing, but they can find some types of play difficult. It is common for them to have very limited play skills; playing with only a few toys, or playing in a repetitive manner. Play often does not come naturally to them, so they have to be specifically taught these very important play skills that seem to come easily to most typically developing children.
The Children’s Center for Autism uses applied behavior analysis to carefully assess each child’s individual skills and then develop a program to specifically teach these important activities. They are taught to ride bicycles, scooters and play games so the painted playground is perfect for this task.
“It was a pleasure working with Spencer and we are delighted with the way playground turned out; it is bright, colorful and very helpful for teaching the children with autism how to play which is often the first place we learn many skills,” Catoe said.