Lee Atkinson, a local junior at Calabasas High School, is planning to build a sensory wall at Valley Village’s Winnetka day program as part of his Eagle Scout Project! He learned about Valley Village and our work from his long-time friend and fellow Eagle Scout, Ben Shanks. Not only has Ben talked to his fellow scouts and friends about Valley Village – he also made us the recipient of his own Eagle Scout project.
We’re so pleased to be working with another prospective Eagle Scout! It just goes to show the value of introducing your friends, neighbors, and family to the work we do at Valley Village and inspiring them to get involved. Lee is extremely dedicated and he answered some questions for us about his upcoming project.
How long have you been a Scout?
I started as a Cub Scout when I was 7, so in total, I’ve been scouting for 10 years.
What is your history in the program and what has it meant to you over the decade?
I was always interested in camping and the outdoors, so when my best friend invited me to join in the second grade, I asked my mom if I could try it. Since then, I’ve accomplished and experienced so much more than I would have if I’d never scouted. I’ve gone rock climbing, hiking, biking, and served Thanksgiving dinner to a group of US veterans. The best part, though, is the scouting community. They push me to keep going when it would be easier to quit or just stay home and watch TV. They have made me a better person.
What is the project you’re hoping to accomplish for Valley Village? How do you envision it coming together once it’s completed?
I am going to install a Sensory Wall in one of the classrooms. I want it to be functional, and have lots of interesting elements that clients will find fascinating and enjoy interacting with, while still looking nice.
What are the steps you go through for approval?
The first step is to give a general outline of the project and get mutual approval from both the Scouting organization and the Benefactor, Valley Village.
Then, I need to make sure that Valley Village approves of the detailed plan for the project. I need to log the process, including fundraising and installation of the wall. Once completed, I will need to take pictures and document the completed project, then both the scout committee and the benefactor will need to sign off on it. This all must happen before I turn 18 (which is June 1st!).
Why is this a meaningful project for you?
I was involved in the Champions program when I played baseball at West Hills Baseball. It raised my awareness of people with special needs. I also have a friend with disabilities!
What’s a fun fact about you?
I am a music connoisseur and love older music like Frank Sinatra and Otis Redding.