When an Eagle Scout candidate sets out to complete a task, there is often more behind the driving force than a badge. Such is the case with 15-year-old Beck Gerritsen.
He chose to renovate the water department shed, which is also used for the Norton Parks and Recreation Department fishing derby and skating party.
“Beck chose this project because he wanted to do something for Norton that would make a difference to the community,” said his mother, Heidi Gerritsen. She also noted that Beck wanted to choose a project he could do well.
The shed was vandalized and neglected, but Beck saw potential. With the help of 12 scouts and seven parents, Beck installed a door and lock, window covering, interior shelves and an exterior shelf.
He repaired the shelf on the front of the building, cleared away brush and dug out the ant hill on the front of the building and sprayed it to keep them at bay.
The lower board had rotted, so he also removed it and replaced it with a pvc board so that it wouldn't be infested by ants again. They cleaned out the interior of the building, which included removing wasp nests, debris and evidence of paintball paint practice on the inside of the building. They cleaned the outside of the shed and repainted it Norton purple and white, as requested by the parks and recreation department.
“We are so appreciative of Beck and all that helped because this shed was falling apart, and not very nice to look at,” said Sheri Cohen, co-chair of Norton Parks and Recreation. “Now it looks updated and is more functional for us to store supplies on the new shelves inside.”
The project began Sept. 15 at noon and was finished about eight hours later. Volunteers racked up 70 community service hours on Sept 15 while Beck clocked in a total of 160 community service hours for the total project. Heidi said that Beck spent hours meeting with the Norton Parks and Recreation Department, planning for work day and purchasing and delivering materials to the work site.
The cost of the project totaled just over $950. According to Heidi, the cost was high because of the installation of the exterior door, high quality brackets and paint.
As of Oct. 4, Beck has raised $200 to defray the cost of renovating the shed. To make a donation towards the project, send a check to Troop 12 c/o Annawon Council 152 W Main St, Norton, MA 02766 with a note on the check that it is for Beck's Eagle Project.
“We could not have done this project without him, and are so grateful we have young adults who take as much pride in our town as we do,” Cohen said.