Growing Character

Aspiring Eagle Scout Takes On Garden Project

Posted: July 2, 2013

Eagle Scout candidate Jonathan Krauss, 15, plants a liatris on Saturday as he joined members of the Colonial Garden Club for a club civic improvement project. He worked with members to clear an overgrown area outside the offices of Friendship Industries, planting a sustainable flower garden for his Eagle Scout project. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Scout Jonathan Krauss teamed up with Cathy Comer, who coordinates the Colonial Garden Club’s civic improvement projects, to clear a space for a flower garden at Friendship Industries in Harrisonburg.
HARRISONBURG — It sounded simple enough to Jonathan Krauss.

Turn an overgrown plot at Friendship Industries into a garden?

Sure, he thought. Pull some weeds, plant some flowers, how hard could it be?

“I didn’t think about all the fundraising and all the money that had to be put into it and the time,” said Jonathan, 15, of Rockingham County, the son of Jim and Vicki Krauss. “I really didn’t think it was going to be that hard, when actually it was very difficult.”

Jonathan, a member of Boy Scout Troop 40, took on the endeavor for his Eagle Scout project, working with Friendship Industries and the Colonial Garden Club.

He and volunteers with the garden club wrapped the project Saturday morning at Friendship Industries’ facility off North Liberty Street near the Harrisonburg city limits.

“I think on Monday, when …  all the employees come back to work, they’ll be really stunned that over the weekend, a little slab of dirt was transformed into a beautiful garden,” Jonathan said.

Lessons Learned

Friendship Industries is a nonprofit that provides training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Jonathan approached the organization last year as he sought ways to meet the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

Now a rising freshman at Spotswood High School, Jonathan started the project in August.

He had to raise money to cover costs, which he must keep track of to submit to Boy Scouts of America.

He also drew up a blueprint for the garden to show area businesses, from which he solicited donations of such materials as plants and mulch.

Then in the last month, time came to finish up the project.

Or so Jonathan thought.

Mother Nature had other ideas, and he learned a valuable lesson.

“To do a big project like this garden, you need patience. …   Every time we made a date to do the project, it would rain and there would be a big thunderstorm,” he said.

But the weather finally cooperated on Saturday, and he’s proud of the work he put into it.

“I enjoyed planting the flowers and doing the full project and getting it all ready by myself,” he said. “I was really proud I was able to accomplish that.”

Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or

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