Eagle Scout Seeks to Connect Frederick Gunn and Scouting

Milo Corner '24 Eagle Scout Project

When Milo Corner ’24 set out to earn Scouting’s highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout, he chose a project that would connect Scouting with Frederick Gunn, who is recognized by the American Camp Association as the founder of recreational camping in America. To Corner, the pairing was a natural fit.

“The outdoors surrounds the Frederick Gunn School's beliefs, yet there is no connection to the Scouting community,” said Corner, who completed his Eagle Scout project last spring on The Frederick Gunn School campus. On May 26, he participated in an Eagle Scout Board of Review, the final step in the process to become an Eagle Scout, which was held in the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. A six-member panel examined Corner’s attitude toward and acceptance of Scouting’s ideals, and conducted a thorough evaluation of his Scouting experience, his Eagle Scout project, and plans for the future. Corner celebrated the board’s approval in September, at an Eagle Court of Honor, held at the Roxbury Congregational Church and attended by his immediate family and Head of School Emily Raudenbush Gum.

According to Scouting magazine, only five percent of scouts reach the rank of Eagle. Corner’s project involved designing and building a woodshed outside of Kempton, a cabin that serves as the home of Gunn Outdoors. Corner filled the woodshed with cut wood, raked up wood chips scattered around Kempton, and put down grass seed on patches of the ground that had been worn down from pedestrian traffic. He raised $1,000 via Go Fund Me to purchase materials, equipment, and supplies to complete the project and enlisted the help of fellow Highlanders and members of Boy Scout Troop 65 in Roxbury, Connecticut.

“My goal all along was to connect both the Scouting community and the school community. I did that. On the build day, both communities helped me build it and both communities became friendly after that,” Corner said. “My project will enhance the area's aesthetic and make it a more enjoyable space for students and visitors alike. I am excited about this project's positive impact on the community.”

Dan Fladager, Director of Outdoor Programs, said Corner’s project is appreciated. “Students looking at their local environment, and thinking about how it can be better is a valuable thing,” said Fladager, who served on Corner’s Eagle Board of Review. “It’s incredibly impactful to the community. I like that Milo chose something that was small in scale and was achievable. He was able to make it happen and Kempton really really needed a woodshed. Now it looks pretty nice. I was really grateful.”

In her book, "Gunnery Stories," the late Paula Gibson Krimsky, longtime School Archivist and Director of Communications, wrote that Kempton "began as an art room where the beloved art teacher, Elizabeth Kempton H'52, prepared many future Gunnery artists, including Jack Folinsbee ’11. Later it became the home of The Gunnery News, which began publication in 1935. Still later it became 'The Senior Shack,' where seniors with parental permission could smoke."  In 1986, after the building burned to the ground, then-Headmaster Michael Eanes H’90 P’90 GP’20 ’23 ’25 had Kempton rebuilt, in a nod to its historical significance. In more recent school history, Kempton has served as the site of Fire Pit Fridays and provides outdoor classroom space for students and teachers in the spring and fall. Students are welcome, and encouraged, to use the front porch as an informal gathering space.

Fladager noted that Corner's efforts to enhance a small part of the campus may have set an example for other Highlanders to follow. “To Milo’s point of connecting Scouting and Frederick Gunn, I’ve had two or three other requests from students who are applying to become Eagles and are considering doing something at The Frederick Gunn School. It is nice that they are thinking about this community as the place that they might give back to for that project,” he said.

Corner was introduced to Scouting six years ago by a friend, and found it presented opportunities to do two things he loves: spend time outdoors and build things. The troop he originally joined, #662 in New York City, is one of the largest and most active Scouting troops in the Big Apple District. Founded in 1941 and chartered at the Brick Presbyterian Church on the Upper East Side, it is currently composed of some 80 Scouts, ages 11-18.

“I learned a lot of valuable skills. We got to go camping every month at Alpine, right across the Hudson River. I also went to Philmont on a big, two-week trek,” he said, referring to the Philmont Scout Ranch, which covers 140,177 acres of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern New Mexico. It is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest National High-Adventure Base.

While on a trek at Philmont, Corner’s group got caught in a dangerous lightning storm. “We were walking across this open field in New Mexico. There was lightning all around. We were in a lightning position for like 30 minutes. As soon as we got up, there was a flash, then a flash-BANG! Lightning struck the rocks right near us. Some people got secondarily shocked,” he recalled.

The experience pushed him outside of his comfort zone, and taught him some valuable lessons. “I would encourage Scouting to any person who wants to develop their leadership skills,” he said. 

At Gunn, Corner holds student leadership positions as a Head Tour Guide and captain of the Varsity Boys Cross Country Team. He is a member of the Varsity Ski Team, and serves as the school’s “official” weather man, delivering entertaining weather reports to students and faculty from the stage of the Tisch Family Auditorium during School Meeting. He plans to attend Southern Methodist University in the fall.

Within Troop 662, Corner set a goal early to become a leader. “I really have learned a lot from the whole experience in general. It was kind of my mission to climb the ranks pretty fast. I went about it the wrong way, so that probably delayed my progress. I competed against my fellow scouts and friends and then I learned it’s really about working together and being collaborative,” he said.

Since New York is more than an hour’s drive from campus, Corner joined Troop 65 in Roxbury to remain active in Scouting and complete this Eagle Scout project. Every Wednesday during junior year, he left campus to attend troop meetings at the Roxbury Congregational Church. Asked how he felt after he became an Eagle, he said: “It’s really rewarding. It’s like a gold star on your resume. I felt really accomplished, very relieved.”

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Milo Corner '24 Eagle Scout Project
Milo Corner '24 Eagle Scout Project