Carrying buckets of paint and bags of tools, Newton High School senior Douglas Ragon led a group of young men through the halls of Newton High School early Saturday morning to complete his Eagle Scout project.


A Boy Scout for more than four years, Douglas rose through the ranks to become Senior Patrol Leader.


"I've always enjoyed Scouts, so I just stuck with it," Douglas said. "It's been quite a good experience with a lot of good camping trips, hiking trips and it's taught me a lot about leadership."


Zach Stenzel, Tristan Myers, Colin Potluri and Tryston Mitchell were there to lend a hand to Douglas, who took the supplies to a jazz band practice room.


Douglas spent many hours in that room, sitting on top of wooden risers as he played trombone for Jazz Band Ensemble I.


Band teacher Keith Woolery said the risers had been used for decades, during which its paint chipped off and its corners became rough with gouges.


"They'd gotten really worn over the years," Douglas said. "The paint was all worn off on them, they didn't look too nice."


Douglas decided to refinish the risers for his Eagle Scout project. The Boy Scouts have strict requirements for their members to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, one of which is a project that will benefit a Scout's community.


"It's not just a project - the scout has to plan it from beginning to end and submit paperwork," said Ron Ragon, Douglas' father.


Ron took before and after pictures of the risers, aiding the young men in using power tools and paintbrushes.


"I put new screws into some of the risers because they had an issue where, if you walked on them, they creaked quite a bit," Douglas said.


The young men spent hours sanding and repainting the wood with non-skid paint donated by Graber's Ace Hardware.


"That's a paint that has sand mixed into it, which creates a rough surface to avoid slipping on it," Douglas explained.


Douglas plays trombone and is a drum major for the Newton High School marching band. He also performs with Great Plains Jazz Orchestra.


"I've always enjoyed music and been pretty good at it," Douglas said.


At 6 years old, Douglas began taking piano lessons and soon learned he had perfect pitch and a knack for playing by ear. He plans to study music in college and wants to become a film score composer.


While he studied music in the classroom, participating in Boy Scouts gave him additional skills.


"It teaches the kids a lot of self-reliance and they aren't kids any more. They're men," Ron said. "It's cool to see these kids grow up right before your eyes."


Ron is an assistant Scout Master for Troop 127, chaperoning the boys as they went to events like the Trappers Rendezvous weekend camping trip.


"We've been out there in rain and snow and cold temperatures," Ron said.


Douglas joined the Boy Scouts because one of his friends was a Scout.


"If you're thinking about getting into it, it's really a great experience," Douglas said. "It helps you learn a lot of invaluable skills you're going to need in your life."


Becoming an Eagle Scout is something Douglas is proud to add to his list of achievements as he applies for colleges.


"Very few Scouts make it to Eagle Scout," Ron said. "It's quite an accomplishment to get to the point where you can be an Eagle Scout. It's kind of an elite group."


Boy Scout Troop 127 meets Monday evenings at the Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, 1200 Boyd Ave. in Newton.


"It's neat, the committed adults that we have, and I think the boys enjoy it," Ron said. "Watching these young men become young leaders, it's pretty cool stuff; we'd love to have more people join us."


For more information about the Boy Scout Troop 127, call Trinity Heights United Methodist Church at 316-283-6410.