BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — When Megan Burke saw the impact that her brother’s Eagle Scout project had on Sunshine Communities, she made up her mind.
“I loved what Sunshine had going on and how they were able to work with my brother – so that’s who I decided to work with on my Eagle project,” said Megan, who created and stocked three little libraries in front of Sunshine’s family care homes.
“The little libraries are well-constructed, bright and easily accessible for all,” said Lori Richard, director of community engagement for Sunshine Communities. “Megan’s project allows the community and those we support an opportunity to discover the joy of reading not limited by time, space or disability.”
Megan, who is a 2023 Anthony Wayne High School graduate and now a freshman at Bowling Green State University, had her Eagle Scout Court of Honor on November 12, but finished the project in April.
A member of Scouts BSA Troop 219 of Perrysburg, Megan met with Sunshine leaders as she began looking at options for her project. The nonprofit supports people with developmental and intellectual disabilities – through residential, vocational, clinical, therapeutic and recreational services in various locations. In addition to the Maumee-Western Road campus, Sunshine has family-style homes all over the area.
“At our homes in the community, individuals live in family-style homes and participate and enjoy their community with neighbors, churches and friends,” said Richard, noting that the Sunshine staff supports residents in their daily lives.
While at Anthony Wayne, Megan took carpentry- and construction-related electives, so she’s familiar with construction techniques. Still, Scouts under 18 aren’t allowed to use power tools, so her dad did the cutting while Megan and other Scouts painted and assembled the colorful libraries.
The project also included a book drive in order to stock the libraries.
“I reached out to people in my neighborhood and school. The goal was 150 books. I ended up with 700 – it was a very successful book drive,” she said.
She could see immediately that the libraries were getting used by observing the turnover in books.
“I came to this library a week after it had been installed,” she said of a South Toledo location. “After a week, it was a completely new set of books. It’s really awesome to see the community engaging with it.”
Since joining Scouts BSA in 2019, Megan has been involved in doing more than just earning 26 badges and working on her Eagle Scout project. During the summers of 2021, 2022 and 2023, she worked at Pioneer Scout Reservation, first in the ecology department and then as a lifeguard and lakefront director.
“I just love interacting with all the young Scouts and being able to teach merit badges,” she said. “It’s really awesome to have a group of kids for a week, to teach them something and give them a really fun adventure.”
During that time, Megan also had her own adventures at the Philmont Scout Reservation and Florida Sea Base as well as cold-weather camping at the Northern Tier in Minnesota. Those three trips earned Megan the Triple Crown of High Adventure Award. She also participated in the National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
Megan has also earned membership to the Order of the Arrow – a type of National Honor Society for Scouts.
“You’re elected by troop members and have to go through a special ordeal to test your strength and your mind,” she said of getting into the service-based organization. “The Order of the Arrow has lots of service opportunities. I really love doing service with them.”
While at Anthony Wayne, Megan played the clarinet in several bands, including serving as marching band squad leader her junior and senior years. She was active in student council and FFA (Future Farmers of America), earning her state degree last year.
As a freshman at Bowling Green State University, Megan lives and works on campus. She hopes to choose a science major within the next few semesters. Her brother Ryan, a 2020 graduate, is set to graduate next month with a degree in marketing and sales from The University of Toledo.
“We’re a house divided,” Megan joked – referring to the Falcons versus the Rockets on November 14.
Megan is the daughter of Roger and Heather Burke of Waterville.