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Friday, May 6, 2016

Eagle Scout redecorates Craig Park

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eagle Scout candidate Chase W. Shields had some help from family and friends during his renovation project of the Craig Park cross-country/walking track. Pictured are (front, from left) John Schraedley, Ben Kulp, Sheila Spencer, Pete Paullus, Cathy Shields, Kristi Koerner, Mathew Meddles, Gene Griffin, (back) Kelsi Johnston, Camber Koerner, Wanda Schraedley, Abagail Penwell, Sam Spencer, Leah Kulp, Chase Shields, Dona Griffin, David Drummond, Richard Westfall, Larry Meddles and Andrew Bowman.
Childhood memories and school spirit were the reasons behind Chase W. Shields' choice for his Eagle Scout Advancement Project.

"Craig Park is like the foster child of Forest Park. It gets put off to the side a lot, and doesn't always get the attention it needs," Shields, 15, said about choosing the three projects he organized at Craig Park. "I wanted to really do something that would help the park, the people that go there and the school."

The two projects dealt with the equipment in the park. The first project was to make the playground area safer by replacing the mulch and gravel under the equipment, while the second was to clean the graffiti off and repaint the picnic tables, benches, a shelter and some of the playground equipment.

"I used to go there as a young child and feed the ducks at Craig Park. I understand why they are gone, but I miss them being there," Shields said.

The third, and the largest project, was renovating the two-and-a-half mile cross county trail at the park so it could be used by local track teams during meets and as a public walking track.

"It was in pretty bad shape," Shields said about damage caused to the track by ATVs using the trail and overgrowth.

After almost three months of planning and gathering the more than $1,600 in donations, it took Shields and approximately 21 volunteers two days to repair low spots, ruts, clear weeds and branches, secure it with posts to prevent vehicle traffic, widen the track by a foot and improve and create new spectator areas along the track.

Shields said that parents and boosters of the Northview High School Track Team were also on hand to help the day of the project.

"There were so many people that helped with this project, so many to thank, that I'm worried I might miss someone. I really want to thank all my family and friends, members of Boy Scout Troop No. 405 and 95 and my fellow church members that helped that day," Shields said.

"I also want to thank all the sponsors like Larry and Mathew Meddles, Harold Taylor, Brad Emmert of Timberland, Brad Porter of B.C. Porter and all the others for their help and donations. I wouldn't have been able to do this with everyone's support."

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a daunting task that many Boy Scout members find difficult to achieve because of the dedication necessary to complete the requirements, but Shields' success has impressed his parents.

"I am completely amazed at how well organized Chase was throughout all this," Cathy Shields said about working along side her civic-minded son. "Chase stepped right up and took control. He did such an excellent job, we are so very proud of him."

Leadership is something Shields plans on continuing in the future.

"I want to take advantage of future opportunities available through my church to work on other community service projects in the area, maybe not at this level, but I want to help others when I can," Shields said. "It's great to see the track in use."

Shields said that two cross-country track meets have been held at the track and people are returning to the park to use it as a walking track.

"The best part about doing this project was getting it done," Shields said, adding a bit of advice for other people interested in doing large projects. "Make sure you contact as many people as possible and use every resource available. When you've done that, you need to make sure you check the small details. To be successful, remember it's all in the details."

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