Joshua Kuehn added eight new benches, a firewood rack and a new fire ring.

Joshua Kuehn, Newsome High School senior and Life Scout in Boy Scouts of America Troop 686, completed his Eagle Scout project in February in Lithia. For the project, which he must complete before becoming an Eagle Scout, Joshua chose to revitalize the primitive youth camping area in Alafia River State Park.

“He really wanted to do something close to home and he knew how the sight looked—a lot of people don’t know how it looks back there—and he knew that it would be a great thing. He really wanted to build something … so that it could be used for many years to come,” said his father, David Kuehn.

Joshua, with the help of 25 volunteers, contributed 137 volunteer hours to revitalizing the area for Lithia residents. He built eight new benches, a firewood rack and a new fire ring after deconstructing the old one. The Lowes in Brandon donated all of the building materials he needed for the improvements after talking to the store manager in his Scouts uniform. Joshua gave the store manager a photo album and update on the project as a thank you for Lowes’ generosity.

“[My son] spoke to the store manager in Brandon and [the manager] was like, ‘What can I do to help? I can do this,’” said David.

Joshua is familiar with the area since he has camped and hiked in Alafia River State Park for past projects and trips. It was also suggested to him as one of the places to conduct his Eagle Scout project by his Boy Scouts troop.

Joshua will join the United States Coast Guard in August following his graduation this spring. He plans to shadow current members of the Coast Guard for six to nine months in order to decide what specific role he hopes to have.

“He does a ton of water activities in Scouts,” explained David. “He’s an avid kayaker and avid wakeboarder and really likes being around the water. He enjoys it. He did all those activities in Scouts.”

To see the newly revitalized camping area, visit Alafia River State Park at 14326 S. County Rd. 39 in Lithia. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, visit

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.