Community-minded Eagle Scout builds bike shelter at JH Airport

JACKSON, Wyo. — Greyson Smith is the man!

Well, maybe not a man, yet. But a boy. A Boy Scout. An Eagle Scout, to be precise, and this 14-year-old has just finished his community service project at the airport that has officials there singing his praises.

To be fair, the bully barn Smith built with the help of his fellow scouts in Troop 268 is not exactly something in his wheelhouse. It was not, in fact, something he was initially interested in doing for his required service.

Greyson, who has been involved in scouting since 1st grade when his family moved here from Florida, is going to be an aeronautical engineer. He knew that the day his mom, Karen, brought home a model airplane as a gift.

If Greyson had his way, his project might have been something more like a spaceship to Mars he could leave in a hangar at the Jackson Hole Airport while he tinkered out some tweaks to make a fly faster.

But he was willing to be practical. He proposed a much-needed wayfinding kiosk that would direct travelers to various terminal highlights like restrooms, the car rental counter, and food and drink.

Or a flight simulator, thought Smith. Something aviation because that is this kid’s calling.

The airport’s Meg Jenkins loved the ideas but then COVID complicated matters. She broke the bad news, shared a list of the airport’s biggest needs, and expected the worst.

“We really could use a bike shelter for employees who bike to work, or a general place to store things in the winter,” she remembers telling Greyson.

A bike shelter was a far cry from what Smith had in mind but he never flinched. He was no carpenter but his dad was. I could do this, he thought. I’m going to do it.

Greyson recruited follow troop members and their parents to help with the build. Photo: Courtesy JH Airport

Next thing you know, Greyson is in full ‘Eagle Scout’ beast mode—calling in favors, recruiting fellow troop members (8 in all and kids he’s known since kindergarten), and generally managing every aspect of the project.

“Mom took care of the emails and helped with the planning. Dad helped since he is in construction,” Smith said.

Before long, some 14-16 volunteers were at the jobsite under the direction of Aviator Smith, swinging hammers and slinging board. It took two days of prep, two days of building. The water-tight shelter sits at the south end of the main terminal building. To borrow a line from Billy Crystal: It looks marvelous.

Greyson earned that Eagle Scout rank, demonstrating leadership and finishing a project to benefit his community.

“I learned group management, leadership,” Smith admitted. “How to manage a group of people without getting too frustrated.”

Mission accomplished, Troop 268 adds a new Eagle Scout to its rank, the airport gets a shelter it would have probably never gotten around to building, and Smith learns invaluable life lessons money can’t buy.

Now that’s a bike shelter! Finished project can’t fly but it will sure keep stuff dry. Photo: Courtesy JH Airport

What Jenkins will remember most, long after the bully barn rots away, is the way Greyson and his crew tackled the job.

“Just to see their excitement and enthusiasm was inspiring,” Jenkins said. “The way they remained upbeat and positive the whole time they were here, even after the project went from something really cool to something kind of utilitarian like a bike shelter, was great to see.”

Oh, and payback’s coming, Greyson.

The newest Eagle Scout admits he expects to get a call from fellow Scout Aiden Miller when he tackles his Eagle Scout project next month. Aiden will brand all the wooden benches in the airport terminal with historic ranching brands of the valley.

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