It never ceases to amaze me how small the world can be, and how especially small the county can be. I donít just mean actual size of the land or amount of people, either, but how surprisingly tight-knit everyone is and the thousands of connections we make on a regular basis, often without even realizing it.
I discovered one of these connections this week as I was following up on a story about a young man who will be receiving his Eagle Scout award on Saturday.
As I believe Iíve mentioned in past columns or blogs, I participated in scouts from 3rd grade until my graduation and received my Eagle Scout in 2006, a point that has brought me plenty of personal pride over the years. I donít consider myself better than anyone else because of this award; everyone has at least one thing that theyíve accomplished in their life that theyíre especially proud of.
For me it was my Eagle award, everything I learned during the process, and the friends I made while doing it.
It isnít an easy task to complete and one of the biggest hurdles is the Eagle Scout project. This project involves planning a community service act, raising the necessary funds, organizing a crew to do the project and then presenting a complete breakdown of the process and completion of that project.
Throughout my career in scouting, I assisted in numerous projects with other scouts including building a bridge in a park, creating a work area at the Northeast Classic Car museum, and building a handicapped accessible ramp at the Chenango Memorial Hospital.
When it came time to choose my project, I received a little help from my father. Several times a week, he would take our dog Chloe for a walk down Pleasant Street, hang a left towards Kurt Beyer, and then venture into the trails of Rotary Park. He had mentioned the disrepair of the trails to me years before, but it wasnít until my senior year of high school that I realized the extent of the neglect and chose to help.
My project consisted of clearing trails (by far the most extensive part), repairing fences and stairs, and adding three brand new 12 ft. long picnic benches. It was a rewarding experience and I had a great time doing it. Even years later, people told me how much they enjoyed those picnic benches ... I only wish they had enjoyed them for picnics instead of, well, letís keep this column PG.
What truly excited me, however, was learning that the Eagle Scout I had a chance to interview had also chosen to repair Rotary Park as it had once again fallen into a serious state of disrepair, if not quite so bad. I was both shocked and delighted which I expressed to the Wards (both Bradley and his father Dan are Eagle Scouts) how small of a world it truly is.
The shock did not stop there, however. Immediately after sharing my connection to the park, Dan Ward explained how he had actually designed the trails in 1987 as his Eagle Scout project. This was coincidence on a grand scale which brings me no shortage of joy. We then spent at least 25 minutes swapping stories and discussing the fate of the park.
We agreed that itís a wonderful place with numerous possibilities, but someone has to take the time to keep it healthy and clean. The debate about Kurt Beyer pool only adds to the strangeness of our timing, but I think it an excellent opportunity to point out the beauty of that area.
Dan Ward had much bigger dreams for that park including camping space, cabins, and even a zipline. However, we donít need a $60,000 budget to keep that area clean and gorgeous. Therefore, I would stress that anyone that enjoys that park, please pick up garbage while youíre up there, even if itís not yours. If you havenít visited, take a walk up there some time. It is a park that has, quite literally, captured the hearts of multiple generations.
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