Wilton will soon see 12 new Eagle Scouts, boys who attain the highest rank in scouting. Among the things they must do to become Eagles, the boys had to earn 21 merit badges as well as plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization or any school or community. They also need to pass an Eagle board of review.
GOOD Morning Wilton asked the boys to describe their projects in their own words, which really gave extraordinary insight into how much thought, consideration and effort went into each project. They are to be commended!
Eric Spiewak: I installed a flagpole and built a walkway at Zion’s Hill Preschool. I did my project at Zion’s Hill since I went to preschool there. Zion’s Hill is the Charter Organization for Troop 20. I wanted to do a project the preschool children would enjoy and that future scouts would appreciate when they go on camp-outs (everyone meets at the preschool parking lot). Once the project was completed, there was a flag dedication ceremony with members of the American Legion who donated the flag.
Photo (left to right): Two members of the American Legion, Eric Spiewak, Mark Spiewak, Michael Cunningham, Jeff Spiewak
Kevon Olstein: I completed a two-part Eagle project at CranburyPark in Norwalk. I was familiar with the park because my family uses the park’s popular trail system to walk our dog. I coordinated with the Recreation and Parks Department of Norwalk to develop a plan to clear a trail that was overgrown and blocked with invasive vines and fallen trees. I noticed that many people used tree trunks to post notices for lost dogs and local events. The second portion of the project was to build and install a kiosk for notices at the trail entrance to the dog orchard. Over twenty volunteers braved the heat and mosquitoes to assist me in implementing my project over the course of two weekends in August 2012. As the trail opened up, and while volunteers were still working, park users and their canine friends began to use the cleared trail. The kiosk continues to be well-used not only for notices but also as a lost and found for leashes and other items found in the park.
Chris Wilson: I built an 8′ x 16′ floating platform dock at the Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton. I chose the project because I had attended Woodcock Nature Center’s Summer Camp program while in grade school and I still enjoy the center’s trails and programs today. I am also an avid boater so building a dock was something that interested me. Since August 2013, when I completed the dock, Woodcock Nature Center has been using it to teach about pond life. The dock can hold 10-12 people. The dock has served as an excellent landing for small boats and canoes as well as the site for many of the nature center’s pond programs, including winter aquatic life. Once the pond freezes, patrons will have a place with easy access to put on ice skates so they can skate at their own risk. In the future, I hope the nature center starts pond skating or hockey programs because the dock I built is perfect for that too.
Photo (left to right): Henryk Teraszkiewicz (Executive Director of WNC), Chris Wilson
Joshua Olin: My project involved clearing and remarking the Rock Walk Trail at the Ridgefield Preserve, adjacent to Weir Farm. After years of irregular maintenance and significant damage from storms, much of the path was overgrown with brush, and it was so poorly marked in places that it was impossible to follow. The trail blazes were repainted, and the entirety of the trail (approximately 1.5 miles), was raked to create a clear, dirt path.
I chose this project so that my fellow Scouts and I could restore one of the town’s greatest outdoor environments and provide the community with an opportunity to fully enjoy and exercise in the Preserve.
Aaron Breene: I wanted my Eagle Project to be beneficial to Wilton’s soccer teams from third grade to high school, so I chose to build two 10-ft benches for the players to sit on, at Field 6, Merwin Meadows; one each for the Home and Away soccer teams to use. I am a Freshman at Wilton High School, and I enjoy playing soccer on the JV team. I collaborated with Wilton’s Parks and Recreation Department to ensure the design and location of the benches was approved, and with the help of twenty Troop 20 scouts we built and installed the benches. On completion of the benches, Jim Lewicki, Wilton High School boys’ soccer head coach said, “Aaron did a terrific job. The players are very appreciative to have such sturdy benches to use, and they certainly add to the professional look of the field.”
Andrew Sakamoto: I approached Norwalk Parks and Recreation looking for a project that I would be proud to complete. I wanted a project that I could come back to in ten years knowing that it helped people for all that time. I built a boardwalk over several jutting rocks and a persistent wet spot in Cranbury Park. This boardwalk is also handicap accessible, allowing the trail to be accessed by those with disabilities. Watching the 110 foot boardwalk come together piece by piece was an incredibly gratifying experience that not only taught me how to lead, but also to appreciate the support of my peers.
Aran Abilock Clemmons: I built bookshelves and collected books from Wilton Library, the Wilton Community, and families of Troop 20 Scouts, and donated stocked bookshelves to The Shelter for the Homeless in Stamford. The idea for the project grew out of my volunteer work with Troop 20 and Temple B’nai Chaim to help homeless shelters, as well as my volunteer work with the Wilton Library.
Photo (left to right): Velma Y. Clark (Director of the Shelter for the Homeless), Aran Abilock Clemmons
Emmanuel Sitinas: I built bat boxes to hang on the property of Woodcock Nature Center of Wilton. A bat box or house is a rectangular wooden structure that is almost flat but also wide. It is used as a shelter for bats in the spring and summer months and it is the location for breeding and rearing of young. The boxes can accommodate anywhere from 50 to 300 bats depending on size. The importance of these boxes is great; it not only provides a safe environment for bats to breed and rear their young, it also offers all the residents near this new bat population with all natural mosquito control. I built 3 boxes, and refurbished 2 pre-existing boxes on the WNC property. For informational and aesthetic purposes, I constructed a small wooden podium and attached a metal placard with information on the Big Brown Bat and the importance of bat boxes.
Photo: Emmanuel Sitinas (on ladder)
Jack Dexter: I am a senior at Wilton High school and very close to earning the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 20. My Eagle Scout project was building a new bridge across a small stream at the local pond, Merwin Meadows. The project took a total of four days to complete in late August, with the help of 28 volunteers consisting of scout members, friends and family. The pressure-treated wooden bridge had a spanning length of 19 feet with a width of 5 feet. The previous bridge was old, decrepit, and not up to standard safe code. To be able to refurbish this park that I always went to as a child was truly a great feeling that I will be proud of for the rest of my life.
Kristian Langholm: My project was to build benches for the soccer field at Merwin Meadows. I built four movable, wooden benches that can be placed anywhere on the field. The project took about three days working with a total of about 5 people per day for 6 hours a day.
Joey Fraccaroli: I cleared the entry to the Weir Preserve nature trail, located in north Wilton, to make it more visible from the road; removed old rotted foot bridges that spanned a brook and a swampy area of the trail. I constructed new foot bridges to replace the old, making the trail system more accessible over the wet areas of the trail year-round.
I chose this project because I wanted to build something that would be long-lasting. I love the woods, so thought it was appropriate to help maintain the Weir Preserve nature trail so that others could enjoy it too.
Photo (left to right): Andrew Sakamoto, Joey Fraccaroli
Jamie Semple: In early June, I completed a food drive in partnership with Homes with Hope, and collected food to help sustain many families in the Wilton/Westport area.
Photo: (left to right) Kristian Langholm, Patrick Collins, Jamie Semple, PJ Collins, Cole Avallone