LukeDossettA Ketchikan teen recently achieved the highest rank attainable in the scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Luke Dossett has completed the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, which included overseeing a community service project.

Only 4 percent of Boy Scouts meet the requirements to become an Eagle Scout. Seventeen-year-old Luke Dossett was born and raised in Ketchikan. He started his scouting career more than seven years ago. Dossett is currently a senior at Ketchikan High School, and has been involved in varsity football, debate, choir and track, and also participates in Ketchikan Dribblers League. Part of his busy schedule includes attending weekly scouting meetings. He is currently junior assistant scoutmaster of Troop 4. Dossett explains what becoming an Eagle Scout means.

“It means that you have a lot of leadership capability. You have the ability to undertake tasks and manage your time, because that is what going through the ranks is, it’s a lot of time management. It’s time management over the course of seven years or so. It’s knowing where you want to be throughout those years so you have room at the end to complete lot of the longer projects.”

To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, among other requirements, Dossett earned 24 merit badges, served as a leader of his troop, and completed a major community service project. The project he chose was to repair and replace the sub flooring of studios at Ketchikan Theatre Ballet. Dossett says he selected that project, in part, because of his family’s connection to KTB.

“Both my mother and my sister had been very active in KTB for a long time. My mother had been on the board, and my sister had participated in it throughout her entire life up until when she graduated from high school. I knew that community very well, so I was very comfortable around it. And I had grown up around the studio.  So, when I had heard from somebody else and a couple of other people that they had problems with their floors, and there were holes in the boards, and it needed to be fixed, I had the idea to create that into an Eagle project.”

Ballet dancers stretch on the repaired floor in Studio A.

Ballet dancers stretch on the repaired floor in Studio A.

The studios have raised, plywood flooring covered with a performance surface called Marley. Dossett was responsible for overseeing the project, which included scheduling, finding volunteer labor, and securing funding and supplies.  He says the original plan was to repair floors in two studios, but once the flooring in Studio A was pulled up, the crew realized the job was more complicated than expected.

“We couldn’t see the plywood without pulling up the Marley, so we basically pulled up one corner of the Marley and used that to assume how the rest of the floor would look. When we finally got to the project, we pulled up the Marley, and it looked completely different from what we originally hoped. It was in a lot worse condition. We ended up only getting one floor done, but it took four days.”

Dossett says most Eagle Scout projects take about 100 man hours, but because of the unexpected challenges, his project took 364.

Lani McElroy is KTB’s business manager and an instructor. She says the previous condition of the floor was a safety issue.

“With all of the wear and tear – dancers jump and spin. After a few years the flooring starts to break down, and then it becomes dangerous. If there’s a hole or something, or a cracked board, it can become detrimental to our dancers.”

News TileThe repair work was done one weekend over the summer. Dossett says crews worked day and night to finish the project before classes started the following Monday.  McElroy says when students returned to class, they noticed the difference immediately.

“They would start to avoid those bad places in the floor during class. They noticed, and are very grateful, that they’ve got a nice, safe space to dance.”

Boy Scouts is open to boys up to age 18, so Dossett’s time in Scouts is ending soon. He shared some of his favorite memories of the past seven years. One was attending the 2013 National Jamboree in West Virginia.

“You had thousands upon thousands of Scouts at this big, huge event, where they held events where you could take merit badges. You could just get to know other scouts. They had church services. They had a concert for us. But I was lucky enough to be able to attend it, and it was a really great opportunity.”

He also was scout leader when he went to the Boy Scouts’ Florida Sea Base camp.

“We basically went to Florida and then flew over to the Bahamas. Then in the Bahamas we get on a sailboat and spend a week sailing around the Bahamas, learning the techniques for sailing, and having a big Boy Scout adventure. I’ve had a lot of really great adventures with my troop, and I’m really happy to be part of it. It’s made a huge impact on my life.”

After graduation, Dossett plans to pursue a teaching degree at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. He says he hopes to return to Ketchikan to teach and coach sports at Kayhi. After completing college, Dossett says he plans to stay involved with Boy Scouts as a Scouter, an adult volunteer or professional in the organization.

Dossett will be honored at a special Eagle Scout ceremony on January 6th beginning at 6:30 pm at the Holy Name Catholic Church Parish Hall. Local Eagle Scouts, Scouters, Scouts and friends are invited.