Scout’s project brings needed support to Allen Brook Park

Observer courtesy photo Zachary Hark poses with the final product of his Eagle Scout badge: he donated four benches to the town for use at Allen Brook Park.
Observer courtesy photo
Zachary Hark poses with the final product of his Eagle Scout badge: he donated four benches to the town for use at Allen Brook Park.

Jess Wisloski

Observer staff

Doing good for his community might have been the “end goal” of Zachary Hark’s Eagle Scout project, but the 15-year-old also knows the value of taking a rest from hard-fought battles on the field.

That’s because Zachary is a longtime lacrosse player. Since the addition in recent years of the community lacrosse fields at Allen Brook Park, he was aware that something was missing: a place to sit down.

So he did something about it. Hark, who has played lacrosse since fourth grade, said it was a proud moment last week when he passed off the four, 8-foot cedar benches he crafted for the multipurpose playing fields to Recreation and Parks Director Todd Goodwin.

“I think he was pretty stoked about having them, because apparently they don’t have any benches over there, and it’s a developing field with the lacrosse community,” said Zachary.

Goodwin said they were a welcome addition: “Definitely! It gives the teams something to sit on while they’re waiting to go in or meeting as a team. It greatly benefits us and we’re really appreciative of the work that he did in giving back to the community and giving back to a sport that he had the opportunity to play on both fields.”

The project was part of Zachary’s pursuit of his Eagle Scout badge with Williston Troop 692.

As part of that, the CVU freshman took ownership of all the steps for approval, design, fundraising, prototyping, fabrication and completion, not to mention sourcing equipment and materials, finding a crew, and figuring out all the transportation logistics. He came up with the idea, designed it using Google SketchUp and presented it to the local Boy Scouts council for approval.

His supervisor, Brian Donohue, was only allowed to help in a cursory way, and Zachary said the work felt very different without an adult hovering all the time.

Though he started the planning process in January, the execution took place mainly over the second week of April and spring break, winding down on April 21.

“The first few days we built a prototype and from there I kind of just went about building them with the crew,” he said, which was made up of four friends.

“All of the equipment and tools came from friends and neighbors and my project coach… he had a lot of tools. He’s a carpenter,” he said.

“It’s my first time really doing a building project on my own, so I thought it was pretty cool, because they turned out really nice and I’m pretty happy with them.”

Though he said Boy Scouts had already taught him a lot about management and leadership and those traits felt like part of his nature now, having no oversight was different.

“It was sort of interesting working with people without an adult. I had adults around, but they weren’t leaning over my back like they would in Boy Scouts or whatever. It was kind of nice to lead people on my own,” he said.

The toughest part wound up being the one he couldn’t physically control: covering the costs, which he projected at $1,200. As of last week, he’d hit that target though, using an online fundraising site, “I reached out to all my family and friends, and Todd Goodwin sent it to all the lacrosse families in Williston, and so I got a lot of money in the first three days, and then it slowed down,” he said, though by April 22, the benches were paid off.