Scout project a lesson in efficiency

Ken Gironda is all about efficiency, so when it came time to do his Eagle Scout project, he had everything organized and ready to go.

Using timeline charts and setting deadlines for himself, the 17-year-old from Huntington Beach was able to complete the task — building a new patio awning for the Brothers of St. Patrick, a novitiate in Midway City — in under a month.

"I wouldn't think of it as pressure. It's a lot of fun and I just try and make it a game," Ken said about sticking to his plans. "If you fall behind, you're losing points. People don't want to come out for two months and spend every single weekend here, so we're trying to be as efficient as possible."

The Los Alamitos High School senior, a Life Scout, said his troop has done other projects for the monastery, so he was able to see that the existing overhang needed to be replaced.

"They had an awning, but the roof was collapsing and the posts were rotted out," he said. "It was a safety hazard."

Ken began planning in early August and started construction Aug. 18, he said. Then every weekend thereafter, he brought in members of his troop and other troops along with his family to help him complete the project.

The blue awning stands about 7 feet tall and about 9 feet long, providing shade and giving the monastery an updated look, Brother Joseph Anoop said.

"It's awesome," he said.

Ken said he finished his project Saturday when an employee from the Jordan Roofing Co. in Orange installed drip guards on the edges of the roof to ensure that water rolls away from the awning, hopefully increasing its longevity.

Finding funding is usually the hardest part of an Eagle Scout project. The Scout has to learn how to develop a business plan and then present it to potential donors.

Ken said his father, Phil, taught him how to create Gantt charts — to organize the project by setting deadlines for specific goals — on his computer.

The student said he noted businesses and individuals from which he could possibly get money and places where he could buy materials. Each of these items coincided with a date signifying when he needed to call his sources or get the equipment.

The chart changed as he worked on the project, Ken said. If something fell through, he would make notes on what did and didn't work, adjust the plan and continue to move forward.

"This project chart is in its fourth or fifth revision," he said. "It's a working and breathing piece of paper. It's a good tool to base stuff off of."

For the Life Scout, outlining a project's necessary steps is something he has been doing since he was a child, said his mother, Kathy Gironda.

"In family dynamics, you're usually getting instructions from parents, but this project has been maturing Ken to learn leadership and adult skills," she said. "I always call him an old soul because of his maturity."

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