TINTON FALLS – One local Eagle Scout candidate is making a big difference with help from The Arc of Monmouth County.
Ryan Holsey, 16, of Jackson made it his mission to build a raised sensory garden for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) at The Arc of Monmouth’s Tinton Falls headquarters. This community service project was his final step to earning the honor of Eagle Scout.
The sensory garden was an idea inspired by Ryan’s late uncle Danny Kardane, a 45-year participant of the The Arc’s Recreation program. Kardane passed away in 2011 at the age of 49.
“I wanted to design a project that would honor both my uncle and The Arc of Monmouth,” said Holsey.
The sensory garden is raised three feet and stocked with deer-resistant fragrant perennials that will be tended by participants of agency’s Achievement Zone program for young adults with autism, Down syndrome and other forms of I/DD.
Ryan put in a lot of work to complete the project, splitting it up into three phases. The first phase began last summer with planning and fundraising opportunities. Following this, the garden was constructed in May and planting began shortly thereafter, with help from participants from The Arc’s Recreation program.
“My brother Danny would be so pleased knowing that Ryan is giving back to The Arc, an agency where he spent so many happy hours,” said Holsey’s mother, Wendy.
Unrelated to his raised garden project, Ryan also donated patio furniture for The Arc’s indoor courtyard.
Ryan’s scouting journey began in first grade when he became a Tiger Scout. From there, he went on to earn the highest Cub Scout award, the Arrow of Light, in fifth grade. Ryan eventually crossed over, becoming a member of Boy Scout Troop 34 in Jackson, with the ultimate goal of earning an Eagle Scout award.
The Eagle Scout award is the highest honor a scout can achieve. It requires hard work and dedication in the form of leadership service projects that provide lasting benefits to the community. Scouts must also earn 21 merit badges, hold leadership positions in their troops, and raise the funds to finance their projects.
“This project taught me how to stay focused, keep on top of things, and make contacts in the community,” said Ryan.“It means a lot that I was able to complete this project in memory of my Uncle Danny.”