Dawson James Nathaniel Gomez with his finished bench project.

By Sofia Celis Avellaneda

Dawson James Nathaniel Gomez is a member of Boy Scout Troop 83 in Riverview and recently achieved the highest advancement rank in Scouting — the Eagle Scout rank.

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills and advance through the ranks of Scouting. Gomez has been a Scout since elementary school and has worked hard to achieve his goal.

“Nothing quite beats Eagle. It is the highest honor offered in Scouting, but I do have other various awards and merit badges from smaller activities,” said Gomez.

Gomez’s Eagle Scout project was installed at the Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center in Ruskin. The installation of two pergola-covered benches was suggested by Hillsborough Co. Parks. He enjoyed Camp Bayou as a Cub Scout and wanted to make it more comfortable for others, so overseeing the completion of these benches seemed like a perfect fit. One of them was put in the Enchanted Forest area, a place for young children, so parents would have a place to sit and rest. The other bench was made for a new trail. Gomez had a lot of support and help with his project.

Supporters such as the Riverview VFW Post 8108 helped with purchasing the materials for the bench, and he had a great team to help build the benches. The paperwork for the completed project was submitted one day before his 18th birthday.

Gomez attended Lennard High School in the collegiate program during his freshman year, but after his first year of high school he transferred to Riverview High School and graduated with honors this past May. He was accepted into Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he is attending this fall. Gomez wants to major in cybersecurity.

When asked about his obstacles in Scouting, Gomez stated, “The biggest one for me was leadership and the weight of responsibility. To become an Eagle Scout, you must serve active leadership roles in your troop for many months.”

As for advice in Scouting, he said, “My advice is to jump in. Find your local troop, contact their leadership and go to a few meetings. You’ll get a great feeling for troop synergy and if it’s a place you want to be.”

To find out more about Camp Bayou or plan a visit, go to www.campbayou.org.

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