Boys and girls slipped off their shoes and crawled on top of oversized checkerboards donated to Chapman Hill, the Mason Center and the Durango Community Recreation Center on Monday as part of an Eagle Scout project.
The 8-foot by 8-foot game boards were designed and built, for the most part, by Trevor Snodgrass, 17, to fulfill one of his community-service requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout.
The three boards were unveiled at Durango Community Recreation Center, where streams of students cycled through as part of Durango’s Gametime program, which provides after-school and summertime activities. (Durango School District 9-R students were out of school Monday for a staff-development day.)
“When we first brought them in, the looks on their faces – it’s nice to know they’re enjoying it,” Trevor said. “I think the kids are going to love it.”
The jumbo-sized boards – Trevor built three of them – are meant to lure kids and ignite their imaginations, he said. “They see something large, and they want to go touch it and play with it,” he said.
It is one of several Eagle Scout projects that have been donated in recent months to help the community. Others include a dog-agility course to help train La Plata County Search and Rescue K-9s, efforts to repair a bridge and build a retaining wall at the Four Corners Christian Camp in Mancos, and the donation of 15 homemade birdhouses for the Durango Nature Studies Center near Bondad.
Trevor, a junior at Animas High School, said he has about 330 hours invested in the giant-size checkerboards, including the hours contributed by his fellow scouts. The wood was donated by Alpine Lumber and the paint was donated by Home Depot, he said.
He decided to make the game boards while working as an aide last summer with Gametime. It was his second attempt at an Eagle Scout project: For the first one, he spent about a year designing a new set of stairs for his church, but he had to abandon the project because of design requirements and financial limitations.
For the chess and checkerboards, Trevor took a regular-size chessboard, measured the dimensions, and multiplied it to give him the dimensions for a life-size board.
About one in eight Boy Scouts make it to Eagle Scout, said Dennis Snodgrass, Trevor’s father, who is assistant district commissioner of the Mesa Verde District of Boy Scouts of America.
“It’s quite an honor to become an Eagle Scout because there is a lot of hard work and determination from the youth part,” he said. “It’s more than just trail building; it’s giving back in other ways.”
Trevor said becoming an Eagle Scout teaches skills the regular school system doesn’t, and future employers will look at that favorably.
Ashleigh Siegrist, supervisor at Gametime, said the game boards are going to be a welcome addition to after-school programs.
“It’s going to be used a lot this summer,” she said. “Kids like taking off their shoes and playing on it.”