March 29, 2014 was a bitterly cold and windy day for an Eagle Scout service project, but it didn’t stop the 35 volunteers who worked under Grant Meyer’s leadership to build two benches for the restrooms at Harvester Lion’s Club in St. Charles.
His mother Kim Meyer stated, “Grant’s biggest challenge that day was managing so many people. It was a great problem to have, but we certainly didn’t expect the numbers we got, especially with the weather we had. He kept everyone going though.” Grant, then aged 17 and diagnosed with Down syndrome, earned his Eagle Scout rank in August, 2014.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts must meet rigorous requirements and demonstrate that they live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives. Grant spent 44.5 hours planning his service project and met the same expectations as those of his non-disabled peers.
His mentor, Ron Kurtz stated, “I intentionally advised the District Council not to go easy on him because of his disability. Grant needed to know that he earned this rank. He had studied hard and was well prepared to present his project to the Council for approval.”
What’s remarkable about Grant’s story is not that someone with a diagnosis of Down syndrome is capable of earning Eagle Scout rank; rather, it’s the depth of his community involvement and development of relationships that really speak to this young man’s character.
While Scouting is one part of Grant’s life, he’s also been involved with his church in addition to activities like basketball, karate and swimming. Throughout his school years he’s remained connected with established friends while developing new ones.
Now at age 18, Grant is getting prepared for life after high school. For the past two summers Grant has participated in the Summer Teen Employment Program (STEP) administered through Easter Seals – Midwest and funded by the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County. His first summer was spent working at the Renaud Spirit Center, then at the St. Charles Pet Adoption Center in 2014. In both jobs Grant earned a paycheck while learning job skills This will help him when he seeks permanent employment in the future.
Not surprisingly, in the spring of 2015 Grant was asked by one of his friends from school to accompany her to their senior prom. Kim stated, “He’s been a part of this group of friends for several years. She’s a remarkable friend who wanted Grant to experience the thrill of attending prom and she approached the invitation in such a special way.”
The young lady posed the question while in their shared cooking class at Francis Howell High School with a poster stating, ‘There’s a million fish in the sea, but I’d be honored if you would go to prom with me?’ The invitation was accompanied with a decorated fish bowl containing a beautiful blue beta fish. He said yes.
Thanks to his many friends Grant knows that inclusion means being welcomed and having a sense of belonging, not just going somewhere or doing something. Grant’s personal desire to be engaged with others and live an active life will no doubt lead to more achievements in his future.