Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ben's Eagle Project

After our fun fall activities,  it was time to get to work on Ben's Eagle project.  Ben set a goal to have the project finished by his 15th birthday, and so it began....

Ben had very definite ideas of what he wanted to do; he wanted something that would be a lasting improvement in the community.  At first, he was going to clean up a trail in a city park and build new signage for it.  We thought it was a great project and he went through all of the paperwork and got it approved and then found out that the county didn't really want it done....He was disappointed at all of his initial hard work, but he got back to thinking of a new project.  He knew some of his buddies had done some great projects at This is The Place State Park and so he contacted them and they had a great project for him to do...but it had to be finished and in place by the end of October.  He had to get busy quickly if he wanted to make his goal by November 10.  

This was the bridge in front of the Relief Society Building that was in desperate need of replacement.  The ground is uneven, the boards were lose and it was really dangerous to walk on.

Once again, the paperwork was done and presented to the scout committee. was approved; now Ben had to figure out a way to construct it.  Brian and I committed to help him do whatever he needed, but we are not real builder types; we knew we needed some expert help.  My dear friend Amy's dad is a builder expert, and he just happened to be in town prior to his move to St. George.  A quick phone call and a dinner at Cafe Rio and we had plans a ready!  Rick was so kind to help Ben sketch out a plan, decide on materials, and organize the project.  We appreciated his help so much!  Ben organized a building night, got all the materials and recruited his buddies and scout troop to pitch in!

Ben getting the necessary materials.  Burton Lumber was great!  They gave Ben a great price, super cheap delivery and were so helpful.
Ben and Rick measuring and cutting the boards.  
 The boys begin the build
 Rick and Ben

 The walkway ended up being about 11 feet long and about 5 1/2 feet wide.  Thomas and Ben marking the spots for the nails.
 Rick and Ben getting the measurements just right.  

Ben drilling the last nail into the walkway!  Project finished.
 The guys making sure the walkway could be lifted.  It was so heavy around 500 pounds!  Thanks to Rick, Brian, his YM leader Jake and his buds and troop for all the help!

 After all that work, the guys enjoyed pizza, breadsticks and pop.  There was not one crumb left over!  They were hungry!

 A few days after the build, Ben had to  coat it with linseed oil to protect the wood for years to come.  His buds Brandon Clark and Ben Williams were great friends and came over after school to help.  Brandon and Ben are the best friends and helped Ben with every step of the project!  Thanks guys!

Now that the walkway was completed, Ben had to figure out a way to get it to the park.  We had a few trailer ideas, but it was so big that the trailers were  just not going to work.  So the night before we were supposed to place the walkway, Ben had to try and find another way to get it up there.  Jon Anderson, a great guy in our ward, came to the rescue.  He brought his big truck and helped a ton that morning!  

 Jon, Brandon, Ben W., Taylor, Bri, Mike, and Ethan ready on 1, 2 3...lift!
 Getting the walkway into the truck.  It was a perfect fit!  Thanks Jon!!!
Once at the park, the old walkway had to be removed. It was much lighter than the new one!
 The ground was uneven, rocky and so picks and shovels were a must in prepping the ground for the new walkway.
Ben and YM leader Clint working on the ground.

 It was a team effort to get the ground level and ready.
Jack, Mike and Ethan working away.  Ethan isn't even old enough for scouts yet, but he came with his dad to help.  What a great ward we have!

 It had rained a few days before, so the ground was quite soft.  It took about 45 minutes to get the ground evened out.  They made a few attempts at placing the walkway, but it had to be perfect, so more shoveling and picking.

Getting the walkway out of truck for the placement.

 Almost finished!

 Let's try it!
 Not quite ready; more shoveling.

 Success!  Walkway in place and perfect!

 Great guys to help Ben!  Taylor, Ben, Bri, Clint and Jon.  You are the best!
 Thanks Dad for buying the lumber and helping me so much, and thanks Mom for the many trips to the park measuring and pushing me to get this done!

 Thanks guys for all your time in helping me with the project!  You are great friends!

 The gang and the finished walkway.

 I'm done!

We had to get rid of the old walkway and so we took it to Bri's office and the boys had a fun time hitting it and breaking it apart.  Ben taking the final swing at it!

And the project is done!  Ben received a nice letter from the park and they said it was "fabulous and would be around for many years."  It was a ton of work, but worth it and Ben learned many leadership skills!  So one more merit badge to finish and paperwork to submit to scouting office and we should be having his Court of Honor after the first of the year!  Yahoo!  Great job Ben!