Future Eagle Scout builds benches for dog park with troop's help

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., Jun. 26, 2013
Troop 108 sits on one of the benches they made for the dog park at the Enfield Dog Park Action Committee's bench dedication day on June 22. Photos by Calla Vassilopoulos.
Troop 108 sits on one of the benches they made for the dog park at the Enfield Dog Park Action Committee's bench dedication day on June 22. Photos by Calla Vassilopoulos.

Working towards becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy task. In fact, only 4 percent of Boy Scouts obtain the title, according to Edward Cain's Eagle Scout project coach, Peter Uricchio. “The Eagle Scout project is the biggest requirement for a Boy Scout,” said Uricchio.

During the last few months, Cain and registered leader Uricchio from Troop 108 have been working together to construct a project Cain can add to his project book to obtain Eagle Scout ranking. After some thought, Cain decided he wanted to build benches for the Enfield Dog Park located on Ecology Drive off of Town Farm Road, where he often brought his Shitzu named Penny. When the park was established in December 2011, there were not enough seating areas.

Once he decided the dog park would be his beneficiary, Cain sat down with Uricchio for the next few weeks to plan the details – how could they raise the money, who would help and where would they build the benches. When they finalized the plan, Cain and Uricchio presented it to the Enfield Dog Park Action Committee (EDPAC) for approval. The committee accepted the proposal, signed off on the plan, and Cain began raising money to fund the project.

He began collecting cans and bottles from friends, neighbors and anyone else who wanted to contribute to the cause for about a month or two. A week before the last day of collections, Cain handed out flyers to neighbors asking them to place their cans and bottles in a bag, attach the flyers and leave them near the curb. On the actual can drive day, he made one last round in the neighborhood collecting all the bags and then he brought all the cans and bottles to the collection site. Cain made $600 to put towards buying materials to make the four benches for the dog park.

“Having to raise all the money and actually go out and buy the materials was a life lesson,” said Cain. “I learned how to manage the money and stay strict to my time limits.” 

After Cain purchased all the materials, it was time to start measuring, cutting the wood and building the benches at his neighbor's house. It took about two to three hours to complete the first bench, but once the group had the measurements memorized, it became similar to an assembly line – one person would mark the angles, another would cut the angles, and so on, said Cain. They began making them quicker and quicker, one after another.

“I had nine or 10 people there to help, and just knowing that those people wanted to be there to help out really was a large boost of confidence,” said Cain.

The group finished the benches in one day, with the help of food and tools the volunteers contributed. On June 15, the benches were installed using cement to provide a secure foundation and ensure they would last “a very long time,” said Uricchio. After the project was finished, Cain still had $118 left, which he gave to the EDPAC at the bench dedication on June 22.

Though Cain has successfully completed his Eagle Scout project, he still has several requirements to complete before he turns 18 on Sept. 7, which is the cut-off for Boy Scouts to receive the Eagle Scout rank. Cain must get his project book signed and sent to the Eagle Scout Council, as well as complete an application with an essay and meet with the Eagle Scout board. 

“You can see a leadership development in him that you would recognize if you are around him all the time,” said Uricchio. “We [the troop leaders and scout master] hoped we could help him develop it even more, and that the people who elected him for positions or the people he had to do projects for, would certainly recognize the same thing we did, and they have.”

Cain has been a Scout for 13 years, including Cub Scouts, and has worked with Uricchio for the last seven years as a Boy Scout. Last year Cain was elected by his fellow Scouts to be the senior patrol leader, which oversees each patrol and decides what badges they would work on, where to camp out and what the camp out theme would be. He held the position from September through March of this year. During his time in the Scouts he has also helped others with their Eagle Scout projects, such as making book donation boxes for the public library.

“It's a really good program because you know that you are around people that have the same ideals as you and they really want to come together and make the community better,” said Cain.

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