Her Eagle Scout project will improve her neighborhood park.

Idajia James has never been afraid to take chances. When WTVR recently covered the Richmond teen in their "Heroes Among Us" special, she gave this advice: "Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid of doing something you’ve never done before." It's a sentiment she lives by.

The 18-year-old senior joined the Boy Scouts in 2019, following in the footsteps of her brother. In the years since, she's become a Senior Patrol Leader, but one scouting distinction remains ahead: Eagle Scout. 

When it came to James' Eagle Scout project, she wanted to contribute to her childhood romping grounds, Belmeade Park. "What can I do to make this more beautiful?" She asked. 

She ended up building three compost bins for the Oak Grove Belmeade neighborhood garden, creating crucial fertilizer. "It's a lot of work, yes," she admitted to WTVR. Even so, "This is an amazing place. I do take ownership. I take responsibility. I take pride in this area."

And when she saw her name on the Eagle Scout plaque by the bins, she said, "I cried. I was like that is my name on there and I did that. I added to this garden, I added to this place I’ve already been attached to, but now I put something permanently there so it is really special." 

James, who will head to basic training to join the U.S. Army Reserves in July, credits the Boy Scouts with helping her grow. I think I had the seed in the ground," she said, "but the Boy Scouts was like my fertilizer." As a leader, she explained, "I'm trying to give them a good example but also find my way first, so then they have a path to follow." Mentors Bob Argabright and Scoutmaster Tom Hayes made it clear just what a good example she sets. "I couldn't be more proud of Idajia," Argabright told WTVR. Hayes said, "Adajia has been a bigger impact on me than I have on her."

Both mentors agree: whatever James ends up accomplishing in her life, "It is going to be unbelievable." 

Have you been to her garden? Encourage Idajia in the comments below!