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Scout gives disc golfers a break

POLAND — Before month’s end, Boy Scout Gabe Dearing, 15, will be finishing his Eagle Scout project by installing benches on the Mill Creek MetroParks’ disc golf course in Canfield.

Gabe, the son of Kathleen and Albin Dearing of Poland, is a sophomore at Poland Seminary High School.

His project is five months in the making and involves many stages.

“So far he had to create a construction manual, a bill of materials, build a prototype and practice the installation of the prototype,” Gabe’s father said. “As of right now, he has completed the prototype, practice installation and construction manual. On Aug. 6, he completed the construction of the (five) benches that are required for the project.”

Five Scouts and three adults participated in construction of the benches. Utilizing EDGE (Educate, Demonstrate, Guide, and Enable), Gabe was able to lead the team through the construction process. He first educated them on safety and construction practices, then demonstrated and guided them through assembly of the bench. This enabled the team to build the rest of the benches on their own.

Gabe said he has some time invested in his project and more to come when the benches are installed.

“There are currently about 30 man hours in the project between building the prototype, buying and prepping the material, Day One assembly and paint and stain,” Gabe said. “The installation Saturday will add about 18 more man-hours to the project.”

It’s taken some balancing of his schedule.

“I took advantage of weekends when I didn’t have anything going to work on the design and the project plan,” he said. “Once the Eagle proposal was complete, I was able to work in several time slots to get all the prep done. Going to Scout summer camp in July provided a break from the project, but I knew that as soon as I got home, I had to make some progress before soccer season started and the weather turned bad.”

As for what Gabe enjoyed about the project, he said: “Leading the Scouts in the construction of the benches. I had a solid plan, so I was able to enjoy the time and have fun with it.”

Gabe’s brother Noah, 19, installed fishing line receptacles at the MetroParks Farm’s fishing pond three years ago. Their dad said the park offers a lot of opportunity and the Dearing family members are big park users.

“Gabe wanted to perform a project that would benefit an outdoor activity for the park,” Albin Dearing said. “His mother is a big user of the park, especially with her friends who are part of the Steel Valley Triathalon Club, and they are often biking and running in the park system. As a result, Gabe reached out to Nick Derico, Mill Creek Park natural resources manager who had worked with Noah on his project in 2020.”

He said Derico offered several project ideas, but Gabe preferred the bench project because it presented multiple opportunities for him to demonstrate leadership during the planning, construction and installation phases.

Gabe is a member of Troop 9002 based out of the Poland United Methodist Church. He plays high school soccer on the junior varsity team.

He has amassed 21 merit badges, including 12 Eagle merit badges that are required to get an Eagle award. Once having completed 31 merit badges, he will be eligible for a bronze and gold palm in addition to his Eagle award. Palms are issued upon completion of a specific number of merit badges.

MONTHS OF WORK

Work on Gabe’s project began in April. He was approved for the project through the BSA Great Trail Council. He had to work off a design the park hoped would give disc golfers a place to rest their bags and discs off possibly wet ground.

Derico said the disc golf course at the MetroParks farm is becoming popular. He said its use is seasonal and weather-dependent, but it does get daily use in season.

“It is very welcome to have permanent benches along the disc golf course,” he said. “This project was identified several years ago, and we are excited to finally see the benches being installed. The addition of these benches throughout the disc golf course will give players a place to rest between holes, watch friends or even just a dry place to set their gear.”

Derico said the MetroParks normally works with one to three scouts a year who are striving for their Eagle award. Once the benches are installed, the project will be done and Gabe can plan for a November Eagle Award Court of Honor.

Gabe plans on attending The Ohio State University but hasn’t settled on a major yet.

jtwhitehouse@vindy.com

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