Eagle Scout builds meditation garden for Advocacy Center

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A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the completion of a meditation garden at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin Advocacy Center here, April 30.

The garden was the Eagle Scout project of Tyler Stoeger, 14, who wanted to do something bigger for the community, he said. He described the garden as a quiet place to rest and recharge.

The garden is only a few steps away from the center, which provides a comprehensive and coordinated system of care for victims of sexual assault, domestic assault and domestic abuse, according to Maj. Robyn Boehringer — program manager for SHARP and the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program here.

“The mediation garden allows individuals that have been through a traumatic experience to relax in an environment away from the stresses of everyday life,” Boehringer said. “The purpose of the garden and the advocacy center is to have a safe place to relax, talk with advocates, and find some sense of normalcy for a period of time. Tyler placed strength words throughout the structure to remind our clients that they are stronger than what they are fighting and there are people that care and will help. Tyler is a perfect example of caring for others through selfless actions.”

At the ribbon cutting, NTC and Fort Irwin Commander Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin thanked the attendees.

“This is a great reflection of what communities do for each other,” Martin said.

The general appreciated Tyler for his contribution.

“I’m very impressed that you’ve made this achievement,” Martin said.

Tyler explained that materials were purchased with donations made by community members and the construction was done with help from volunteers and other scouts. He began in January and by the completion date of April 10, approximately 256 hours of volunteer time had been dedicated.

“I want to thank all the people who donated and all the people who help build this … thank you,” Tyler said before snipping the ceremonial ribbon.

Boehringer stated Tyler was adamant about completing a project that positively affected the community. After learning the Advocacy Center site included a meditation garden, Tyler created the plans for the garden and initiated fund raising.

“Tyler was the sole designer of the garden,” Boehringer said. “He asked me a few questions but the whole concept came from the mind of a 14-year-old. Pretty impressive!”

Tyler’s father, Lt. Col. Anthony Stoeger – former executive officer for 916th Support Brigade – expressed that his son’s improvement in leadership skills is linked to his involvement with Boy Scout Troop 67 here.

“He has taken on more responsibility each year he’s been in scouting and has learned skills that he will use for the rest of his life,” Stoeger said.

Stoeger encourages those interested in scouting to attend a Troop 67 meeting, which is held every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., in building 1210 on Normandy Drive here.