Gavin Gannon has been working toward becoming an Eagle Scout for years. He could not have guessed back then what his Eagle Scout service project would be: sewing hundreds of masks for the Ridgefield School District.
COVID-19 created many planning and logistical challenges for schools, including where learning would take place. While the Ridgefield School District will start the year with online learning, it is also planning ahead to when schools can safely reopen. Gannon was inspired to make one part of their work easier by making masks for students, teachers, and staff. “I chose masks for my project to help RSD be a safer environment for when schools are re-opened,” he said. “It’s to help keep the community safe.”
His project was ambitious because he had no experience in sewing. He started by finding a mask pattern and purchasing a variety of fabrics. His mother and grandmother showed him how to cut the patterns, then assemble and sew the two-layer reversible masks. “It was a long process of cutting, sewing the masks together, and attaching the other bits,” he explained, but he didn’t mind. “It was fun, actually.”
Gannon started the project in late June and was able to finish in about a month. His original goal was smaller, but his advisor pointed out that more masks would make a big impact and help a lot more people. “We started at 200 and it went to 600, so it tripled,” he said. “But hey, the more the merrier!” In all, he ended up making 639 masks in sizes ranging from child to adult.
Scouting is a longstanding tradition in Gannon’s family. “My grandfather is an Eagle Scout, and he helped inspire me to join scouts.” Gannon is a member of Boy Scout Troop 320, and his final Eagle Scout service project embodies the scouting values of service, community engagement, and leadership development.
Learning to sew is a skill Gannon said he will be “putting to the test” when things get back to normal. But until then, the masks will be put to good use, keeping hundreds of Ridgefield students, teachers, and staff safer. Many thanks to Gavin Gannon for his impressive Eagle Scout project!