Drew Pfyl, now 18 years old, has spent more than half of his life as a scout. Beginning in first grade as a Tiger Cub, he moved up through the ranks and enjoyed the outdoors events that come with scouting as well as the quality time with his dad, Dan who was very active in his Pack.
When it was time to cross over into Boy Scouts, he joined Troop 313 of the Shawnee Lodge Chapter of the Greater St. Louis Area Council. When the time came, he knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his uncle and grandpa and work to receive an Eagle Scout badge. While contemplating what type of Eagle Scout project he wanted to do, he heard about a man named Bill Myers, vice president of the Buder Park Archery Club and a member of the Missouri Bow Hunter’s Association, who was trying to get a grant to install an ADA accessible archery range in Buder Park.
“The idea really sparked my interest,” said Pfyl. “I love the outdoors and doing things like hunting and archery. The idea of being able to help someone who is disabled be able to enjoy those same things sounded pretty cool.”
Growing up in Manchester near Buder Park he knew that the park already included an archery range and he thought that his project would be a perfect addition. His next step was to contact the St. Louis County Parks Department.
”When I was contacted by Drew about the project I knew it was a great fit for the archery range at Buder Park and a great service to our community,” said Tom Ott, acting director of the St. Louis County Parks Department. “The area was flat, had easy access and was already being used somewhat by disabled archers. This was going to be a huge improvement over what was currently there and we knew it would bring more archers into the park to use the site. It was one of those projects that was a win-win for everyone involved.”
After getting approval from the Parks Department, Pfyl researched ADA requirements and features that should be included in the range and, with help from park supervisor Dan McKeever, drew up plans that had to be presented to a board for Boy Scouts of America.
Once all approvals were in place, it was time to get to work. Pfyl and his dad started by clearing the overgrown area where the range would be installed. Next they laid the rock and poured the concrete for the wheelchair path and then built a target similar to the four existing targets but six inches shorter. The range opened in November 2012 and also features pipes set up at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards to hold arrows.
“I am really proud of this project because there is nothing else like it in this area,” said Pfyl. “My original thought was that it could be for wounded veterans and people with physical limitations, but I’ve also seen kids using it to learn how to shoot. I’m just really glad to see it getting used and that it’s made a difference to people in our community.”
“I couldn’t have done this without help from my dad and support from the St. Louis County Parks Department. The department donated some of the materials and the director, Tom Ott, park ranger Tommy Robinson and Dan McKeever were extremely helpful throughout the entire process and instrumental in getting this project completed. I can’t thank them enough.”
Pfyl graduated in May from Westminster Christian Academy and is now majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo. He plans to try to stay active in Scouting and just returned from a camping trip in Canada with his troop.