Eagle Scout project beautifies Oceanside Park


Eagle Scouts must display the character traits and skills that make them well-rounded contributors to their communities, and 14-year-old Kilian McNichol created an Eagle Scout project that reflected his and his family’s love of travel — and their love of their hometown of Ocean-side.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and Councilwoman Laura Ryder honored Kilian, a freshman at Oceanside High School, for completing his project, a mural now on display in Oceanside Park. Kilian got the project approved by the town’s parks and recreation commissioner, Frank Zangla, who helped pick out the perfect spot in the park, the wall behind the decorative boat beside the entrance to the town pool.

“Kilian McNichol represents the very best in scouting, and I applaud his diligence in completing his Eagle Scout project as a freshman,” Clavin said in a statement. “Oceanside Park is the perfect location for Kilian’s postcard mural, and we are grateful for his efforts in celebrating what makes Oceanside great.”

Kilian has been a scout for 10 years. He joined Cub Scouts in kindergarten, and has done his share of volunteering for the town. He has earned a number of scout conservation awards and Messenger of Peace awards, which recognize individuals who participate in a Messengers of Peace service project, a global service project program carried out by scouts around the world. He has cleaned local parks and collected food for the pantries that deliver food each Thanksgiving. He moved up to Boy Scout Troop 230 in Oceanside at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Describing Killian and his family as well-traveled is an understatement. They have visited over 30 national parks, from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone. They love the outdoors, and Kilian hikes, camps, skis and surfs. He has completed the Junior Ranger program, an activity-based educational program, at every national park he has visited.

“Anything outdoors is right up his alley,” said Lauren McNichol, his mother, who explained Kilian’s inspiration for his Eagle project. “When we travel around the country, we always look for these murals, if there’s one in town, and we take a selfie in front of it, and they make a great part of our photo album. When he was thinking about his Eagle project, he said he wanted to make one for Oceanside.”

Kilian designed a mural for Ocean-side in which every letter contains something he loves about the town.

“I wanted to highlight all the important things that I think Oceanside has to offer, and kind of like beautify an area in Oceanside,” he said. “I tried to highlight everything in Oceanside Park, and show how lucky we are we live close to the beach and New York City. Highlight the Marine Nature Study Area and how lucky we are to have a protected area like that right in our town.”

The mural was designed, illustrated, printed on vinyl, and professionally mounted on the wall next to the boat. With the help of his fellow scouts, Kilian cleaned the boat, built an 8-foot planter there and planted local seagrasses.

“Now it’ll hang in Oceanside Park, and the crazy thing is, he’s been going there his whole life,” Lauren said of the mural, adding that she and Kilian’s father, Don, were born and raised in Oceanside as well. “We grew up in the park,” she said, “so it’s just a special location for us and the neighbors, family, friends, local businesses.”

Before he created it, Kilian took his mural idea to one of his oldest friends from kindergarten, Brian Stromer. Brian’s father, Michael, is a digital marketer and a talented artist, and when he saw Kilian’s design, Stromer volunteered to create the artwork for it.

“I really thought the project was great,” Stromer said. “It’s nice to show pride in Oceanside and support the Boy Scouts, which is great, but I also enjoyed it personally. To be able to use my artistic talents, the things that I enjoy, and anything I do to support the Oceanside community. To me, it’s really important to give back to the local folks here.”

Since its completion, the mural has been well received. And now, with his Eagle project completed, Killian has time to focus on his first year of high school, where he is involved in several clubs and extracurricular activities, including Key Club and DECA, and plays lacrosse.

Although he has a lot on his plate, Kilian wants to continue with scouting. “The bond (I) made with the people in my troop, I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “So I just want to keep that going for as long as I can.”