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The sounds of play: Scouts, city install Musical Playground by Paul and Babe

Troop 25 Boy Scouts help to install the new musical equipment being added to the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground on Thursday morning. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 6
Daniel Robers, 17, a Troop 25 Eagle Scout, (second from the right) wrote over 50 letters to family, friends and community organizations to collect donations and raised a total of $11,600 to purchase the equipment needed for the playground. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer) 2 / 6
Troop 25 Boy Scouts help to install the new musical equipment being added to the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground on Thursday morning. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 6
Troop 25 Boy Scouts help to install the new musical equipment being added to the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground on Thursday morning. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)4 / 6
Troop 25 Boy Scouts help to install the new musical equipment being added to the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground on Thursday morning. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)5 / 6
Troop 25 Boy Scouts help to install the new musical equipment being added to the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground on Thursday morning. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)6 / 6

BEMIDJI—The echo of drums and chimes rang through the air as 17 year-old Boy Scout Daniel Roberts stood by and watched as his Eagle Scout Project became a reality.

"It feels really awesome, I'm really really happy with it," he said Thursday about the installation of the Musical Playground near the Paul and Babe statues in downtown Bemidji.

With his fellow scouts by his side, Roberts lead a Bemidji Parks and Recreation crew in setting up the new music section next to the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground. Scouts also had time to test all the new instruments as they were being put together.

Four different instruments were included in the new area musical play area, including a kettle drum, a set of grandioso chimes, a metallophone and a kundu drum.

Bemidji Parks and Recreation Director Marcia Larson said the choice to include the instruments at the popular inclusive playground will impact many children in the Bemidji area.

"So the Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground was a dream of the community for all children with different abilities and disabilities to play together," Larson said. "Having a musical component also reaches a group of children with different abilities—it fits in well with the theme of all children playing together."

Roberts started his campaign last year to get his project off the ground. He wrote more than 50 letters to family, friends and community organizations to collect donations. In total, the Bemidji area scout raised $11,600 to purchase the equipment needed for the playground. He has spent more than 100 hours fundraising and planning for the project.

"I think it is huge, Daniel did an amazing job getting the communities support in funding," Larson said. "We are just here trying to support his efforts and get the playground installed."

Having the ability to take charge of a project and gain leadership skills are some of the main aspects of any Eagle Scout Project, according to Greg Roberts, Daniel's father and Troop leader. He thinks it has been great to watch his son lead his fellow scouts in order to give back to their community.

"This has been over a year in the making so it is amazing," Greg Roberts said. "I certainly had some concerns with whether we would be able to pull it off. The really important thing is that Daniel is in charge with the other scouts."

The project is meaningful to Daniel because of his own love for music. He hopes lots of children will be excited for the new addition.

"I think it will really help. I think it will be well used and people will be happy to find out that it is here," Daniel Roberts said.

The next step for Roberts is to write up a report about the logistics of his project and the hours he has been putting before the playground's installation. He will present his report to a district board to reflect on what he has learned through his experience with his project.

An official ribbon cutting and celebration will be scheduled later in the summer.

Natalie Hilden is the Pioneer’s summer reporting intern. Originally from Nevis, she is a senior at South Dakota State University.