James Pampeyan, a Boy Scout from Troop 33 in Los Altos, last summer led a team of volunteers in building an archery range for Camp Taylor, a Modesto camp for children with congenital heart defects.
Pampeyan, who was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome, a condition where the heart only has one ventricle, has attended Camp Taylor for the past 13 years.
“Throughout my life, I’ve had many concerns about my medical future, and I’ve lived with these fears that few others can relate to,” he said. “When I am at Camp Taylor, I’m surrounded by people who understand my experiences and share similar concerns.”
Boy Scouts has also been important to Pampeyan as an activity he could participate in despite his health limitations. When selecting his Eagle Scout service project, he wanted to give back to the organization that has had such a meaningful impact on his life. Camp Taylor had recently purchased property to construct its own facilities, so Pampeyan suggested building an archery range, which combined his Scouting experience with an activity he had enjoyed at Camp Taylor.
Pampeyan put his plan into action by recruiting volunteers from his troop and from Camp Taylor. Over the summer, in weather often exceeding 100 degrees, his crew put in more than 650 hours clearing 10,000 square feet and moving in excess of 4 tons of gravel, concrete and lumber to build 320 feet of fence, a 40-foot wide backstop and a 30-foot shooting platform, topped off with a range safety flagpole.
“We are incredibly proud of James’ tenacity and dedication to following through with a strong labor of love in building the camp archery range,” said Kimberlie Gamino, Camp Taylor’s executive director.
The project was completed just in time for the summer camps. Both campers and camp staff practiced their archery skills on the new range, and Pampeyan was there to join them.
“It felt so rewarding having people enjoy something that I had made,” he said. “The kids were very excited to do archery, and this archery range will allow them to have a place to do that for years to come.”
Although he has aged out of being able to attend Camp Taylor, Pampeyan will continue to be involved as a camp mentor next summer.
To contribute to Camp Taylor’s building efforts and for more information, visit kidsheartcamp.org.
For more information on Troop 33, visit troop33.org.