Of Good Report

“Of Good Report,” Ensign, Aug. 1993, 79

Of Good Report

Scout Quilting Bee

“Scott, are you sure this is what you want to do for your Eagle project?” asked William Pickett, district advancement chairman of the Rosebowl District, San Gabriel Valley Council.

Scott Coberly, a member of the East Pasadena Ward in the Pasadena California Stake and a class president at Pasadena High School, nodded his head confidently.

“But, Scott, have you ever used a sewing machine?”

“Yes, many times.”

“Have you ever tied a quilt?”

“Yeah, sure I have,” Scott again replied in the affirmative.

Brother Pickett wasn’t the only one to express surprise at Scott’s choice of an Eagle project. But a look at Scott’s background explains why tying quilts to donate to a local home for troubled teenagers was a logical choice. Scott’s mother, Marcia, has spent hours quilting, and he has also seen his father, Clark, tying quilts. In the extended Coberly family, handmade gifts and quilts are traditionally often given to family members. When Scott’s older brother went off to college, one of his prized possessions was the quilt Scott had made for him.

The project was approved, and on March 24, the twenty-two Scouts in Troop 338 gathered in full uniform for their first quilting bee. Scouts from Troop 485 also came to help. Two quilt frames were set up, and the young men sat down with some trepidation; most had never even threaded a needle before.

The Coberlys have a nontraditional way of quilting. So that all four sides of the quilt don’t have to be sewed after it’s been tied, Scott instructed the Scouts to sew three sides of the quilt together first. Next, a Scout crawled inside the large empty quilt and evenly spread out cotton batting. Finally, the quilt was tied, either on frames or, when frames weren’t available, on the ground.

The Scouts completed twenty-one quilts. “The quilts made by Troop 338 will have a tremendous impact on the youth at the home,” said Penny Nelson of Ettie Lee Homes. “It is possible that the youth who receive these quilts will have never had anyone care enough to actually make something just for them. The fact that the quilts are made by the teens’ own peer group can give added meaning to the quilts.”

The Ettie Lee Homes for Youth is a southern California child care agency started in 1950 by LDS high school teacher Ettie Lee. She pioneered the group home concept, helping to provide homes for the troubled boys she met as a teacher.—Kit Poole, assistant public affairs director for southern California

Sweaty Faces, Loving Hearts

Anona Squires of the Dayton Branch, Carson City Nevada Stake, recently benefited from a branch service project. Of the experience, she writes:

“I slid down in my seat as Dean Haymore, president of the Dayton Branch, announced the details of my home renovation and invited everyone to come. ‘Children will be well supervised,’ he said. ‘The materials have been delivered, so all you have to do is show up in your work clothes.’

“I was embarrassed, yet touched, at the concern that had been shown me.

“I live in Virginia City, Nevada. The 1860 census recorded the population of this small town as 2,345, including 139 females. Mark Twain did his first writing here as editor of the local paper. But over time, the town population has been reduced to just over 600. Homes spread up the hill to the foot of Mount Davis, and in the summer months, thousands of curious tourists tramp the old boardwalks for a glimpse of the town that produced more gold and silver than any other place in the United States.

“My home is well worn. My husband died twenty years ago, and I raised my three children alone, working at two jobs most of the time. I had prided myself on being independent, but after I underwent surgery, both the home and yard fell into disrepair. Tissue paper plugged up the cracks around the windows and doors. Ashes from the stove piled up because carrying them outside was such an effort. I had felt much support and love from branch members, but I was almost overwhelmed as they gathered to work on my house.

“Most of the work was completed that first day. A drafty old door and windows were replaced, the house was rewired and replumbed, a new kitchen subfloor was laid and the room was carpeted, a new sink and cupboards were installed, walls were reinforced, a half-bathroom was built, fire alarms were installed, and the roof was replaced.

“Sisters painted the outside of the house, a detached boathouse, and my picket fence. The lawn was raked and trees pruned. Workers made three trips to the dump.

“I thought I knew these people. I had met them each Sunday with hugs and handshakes, but I saw them in a new light that day. As I looked at their sweaty, paint-splattered faces, I knew I could never thank them enough for their loving unselfishness.”

Scouts make quilts for troubled teenagers. (Photo by Rocky Kemp.)