By Lisa R. RhodesAugust 14, 2009
FORT MEADE, Md. -- One day in January after attending daily Mass at the Main Post Chapel, Insahl Chenet noticed the shrubbery near the entrance of the chapel.
"It didn't look too nice," the 15-year-old recalled.
He examined the space and thought it would be a good idea to make a few changes. "I thought it would be a nice place to sit and think about God and prepare for church," Insahl said, explaining how he came up with the idea of a meditation garden for the chapel.
A Boy Scout with Troop 712 in Severn, Insahl decided to create the meditation garden as part of the community service requirement to become an Eagle Scout, the highest Boy Scout rank.
Installation Chaplain Lt. Col. Kevin Stroop said the garden, which was completed in May, has impressed many of the chapel's congregants.
"[Insahl's] garden will inspire countless others to act upon their faith," Stroop said.
Insahl's first step in creating the garden was to put together a portfolio to present to his scoutmaster for approval. Insahl researched various Web sites on gardening and created a draft of his design using computer software.
While developing his design, Insahl heard about the Children's Memorial Garden at Argonne Hills Chapel Center and contacted Suzan Hitchner, a state-certified master gardener who oversees the garden. Hitchner gave Insahl books on gardening and helped enhance his plans.
Insahl then presented his design to Chaplain (Maj.) Joseph Vieira, the installation's Family Life chaplain. Vieira approached the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, the Directorate of Public Works and then-Installation Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Punke to get permission for the project.
Once the project was approved, Insahl wrote a letter to his family and friends in April requesting donations for the meditation garden. He raised more than $1,000.
Insahl purchased materials from local gardening and home improvement stores. With the help of volunteers from his Boy Scout troop, Insahl managed the construction of the garden during two weekends in May. The prospective Eagle Scout said he is pleased with the results.
"It's a very nice looking garden," said Insahl, who moved from Fort Meade to Bowie this week.
The teen will appear before an Eagle Scout review board later this month to determine whether he has met all the requirements for the rank.
Insahl said that completing his Eagle Scout project has helped him mature and develop leadership skills. "I have respect for people in leadership positions," he said. "Getting people motivated to work on a project can be a little difficult."
A homeschool student, Insahl said he hopes to study Catholic theology in college and eventually teach Catholic theology as a college professor.
Stroop said he is touched by Insahl's dedication. "When a teenager is motivated by faith to do a great work in our community, we cannot praise him or her enough," the chaplain said. "Insahl's hard work proves that community service can be a motivator. The Fort Meade religious community will benefit from his motivation for years to come."