Maddie Nerden to become second female Eagle Scout in Melrose


MELROSE — Melrose High School Senior, Maddie Nerden, hopes to soon become the second girl in Melrose to ascend to the Boy Scout’s highest rank – Eagle Scout.

On average, only 6% of Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, according to Boy Scouts of America organization. To earn it, an individual must take on leadership roles within their troop and their community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges that cover a broad range of topics including first aid and safety, civics, business and the environment; and research, organize and complete a large community service project.

A member of the BSA Melrose Troop 635 G (G for girls), Maddie has collected all 21 badges required to become an Eagle Scout and recently presented her community service project during the grand reopening ceremony for the Melrose Milano Center, the community’s recreation and social hub for adults 60 years and older that recently reopened to the public.

During the ceremony, Maddie stood alongside her project, one of two wooden multipurpose carts, complete with wheels and brakes, that she designed specifically with older adults and individuals with disabilities in mind.

“I wanted to design something that provides older adults and individuals with disabilities with an accessible way of tending to garden planters of flowers or vegetables,” said Maddie. “The cart is ergonomic, so older adults don’t need to bend down to garden, and its height is accessible for individuals who may use wheelchairs to get around.”

Maddie contacted Erica Brown, Manager of the Milano Center, to request that the Milano Center become the beneficiary of the project, given the needs of the Center matched the mission of Maddie’s project.

“I was impressed with Maddie’s idea and the timing could not have been more perfect,” said Brown. “I thought the carts would fit nicely with the planned post pandemic upgrade to services at the Milano Center facilities,” said Brown.

With Brown’s blessing, Maddie researched accessible designs, materials and methods of construction, and led a group of scouts, family and friends to produce the carts. She secured construction materials from Michael Le, Assistant Store Manager of the Saugus Lowe’s, who donated all the supplies needed to build the carts, as well as the potting soil for the project.

Stacey Minchello, Executive Director of the Melrose Council on Aging, said that while the carts main function will be to help older adults garden – grow flowers, or greens to harvest for the Center’s luncheon meetings – the carts can also be used to serve refreshments during the Center’s indoor functions and outdoor functions on the patio – where several upgrades are underway, thanks to a grant secured by State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian.

“We’re honored to be a part of Maddie’s journey to becoming an Eagle Scout,” said Minchello. “And we’re equally honored she could be a part of ours.”

Maddie, who will begin her college career at the University of New Hampshire in the fall, is currently waiting to participate in a Board of Review, which will determine if she gets the Eagle Scout ranking. If she is approved, she will join the other 59 trailblazing female Eagle Scouts in Massachusetts.