A pair of Wading River siblings is trying to make a difference in their community through Eagle Scout projects.
Theodore “Teddy” Haarke, a 17-year-old junior at Shoreham-Wading River High School, and his sister, April Haarke, a 15-year-old sophomore, are both in the running for the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, according to their website.
The Boy Scouts of America started allowing girls to join in 2019. Teddy is in Boy Scout Troop 161 Shoreham and April is in Troop 23G Center Moriches.
Teddy’s project involves setting up a U.S. flag depository site for proper disposal of U.S. flags that are no longer suitable for display due to wear and tear.
His depository site is located on Sound Avenue in Riverhead, outside the Long Island Antique Power Association.
“I decided to do my project because there’s not a lot of depositories where you can retire torn flags out east,” Teddy said.
The Long Island Antique Power Association was the perfect location for his depository, he added.
“I’m part of the club there since 2016, so I take honor of always helping out around that club trying to show the past to the future generation,” he said. “I thought this could be a good place — people always hang flags on tractors, old trucks, old equipment — to retire [the flags if] they know there’s a spot here.”
Teddy and other members of his troop will pick up the flag and perform a ceremony that consists of unfolding it and laying it over a fire pit, he said.
He got into Scouting because of his cousin, who also did an Eagle Scout project when Teddy was in Cub Scouts.
April’s project involves creating shoeboxes containing descriptions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects. She was inspired by the Long Island Science Center’s STEM outreach program, which provides no-cost STEM access to homeless shelters and their residents across Long Island.
“What I ended up doing was creating 75 shoeboxes for three different age groups: K through second [grade], third through fifth and sixth through eighth,” she said. “I wanted my project to be something that they can take instead of just staring in front of a TV, an iPad or a phone, so these boxes were just left for the kids to grab anytime they felt like they wanted to do something.”
Each box outlines various STEM projects that children can do using affordable household items.
“One of my favorite projects in the box is we have a balloon car, and the balloon car is made out of old plastic water bottles, bottle caps and straws,” she said.
She wanted to make sure that the projects in the boxes were affordable.
“[Projects] in the boxes are roughly under $10 so it’s something that’s easy enough for you to attain,” she said.
April wanted to join the Boy Scouts because she was very drawn to what her brother was doing.
“I saw Boy Scouting as an opportunity to kind of further what I thought Girl Scouts would be,” she said.
April spent $1,400 to complete her project and Teddy spent around $2,000 to complete his.
Among many other requirements, Eagle Scout candidates are required to complete a comprehensive service project within the community to qualify for the rank. Teddy and April will be eligible after filing the required paperwork on their projects and completing a Board of Review interview.
Earlier this month, Teddy and April’s mother, Liz Haarke, received confirmation from Boy Scouts of America Council that April and Teddy would be the second sibling pair in Suffolk County to receive the rank together.
“It’s an honor,” Ms. Haarke said. “It was two different journeys, but they had the same goal.”