Eagle Scout project benefits park visitors
by Guy Thompson
Boy Scout Ryan Briskie has been working toward the ultimate goal for Scouting – Eagle Scout – for some time. This is not a goal that can be achieved in a short amount of time. There are merit badges to be earned, leadership skills to master, and, finally, a community service project.
For Briskie, a senior at Northridge High School who is looking to major in engineering in college next year, the Middlebury Parks Department provided him with a perfect opportunity to combine that interest in engineering with his project. “I went to talk to the parks department to do something for them, and they had a list of possible projects they wanted done in the parks,” Briskie said.
Among those was a bird blind/viewing area on one of the trails at Riverbend Park.
“I was taking an engineering course,” Briskie said. “And was able to use the 3D modeling program to see what it (the blind) would look like.” Using 3D modeling allowed him to share the plans with the parks department and others to get suggested changes, including changing how the foundation was built.
“I started last fall with the planning,” Briskie said. After most of a year’s worth of planning, getting materials lined up, and doing the prep work, Briskie enlisted other Boy Scouts to begin work over the weekend of July 29 to complete the bird blind, finishing up that Monday with a full evening of work. “We were out there cutting until after midnight,” he said. “The foundation had been in since the week before. I got it cleared out and then the concrete pads were put in place.”
“It was my project, but I had to get help to get it done,” Briskie noted. Briskie had over a dozen other scouts working with him, along with several adult leaders. “The troop was a big help,” he said. Briskie is part of Troop 776 from Beulah Missionary Church in Goshen.
Eagle Concrete assisted by providing the concrete footers at no cost, while Middlebury Hardwoods stepped up and provided the decking and siding lumber.
Only around 3 percent of Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, and it has been a goal of Briskie’s for some time. “It’s the highest accomplishment. Even today, I still look up to Eagle Scouts,” he said. Now, he is just a step away from becoming one himself. “Eagle Scouts put a lot of work into what they want to do. They are really passionate and want to serve.”
Briskie encourages other scouts to aim for the highest honor, but has some advice. “It’s going to be tough, but you really have to go for it,” he stated. “Rank up as fast as you can and after you get Life Scout, start right away working on Eagle. Don’t wait.”
Briskie knows how important Boy Scouts can be to others, and the benefits of joining. He joined in 3rd grade after getting information on the program at school. He got his father, Scott, involved as well as his younger brother, Dustin. And, as with all good families, mom Dawn was a big supporter. Some of his best memories from Boy Scouts includes camping with his dad and other scouts, as well as target practice with his dad.
“If you’re looking to have fun, grow close to friends and your dad, it’s a great way to go,” Briskie said.
And, like the best Boy Scouts, it becomes less about the scouts and more about how they can serve their community.