Visitors to the Lurman Woodland Theatre for the summer series of free weekend concerts will have additional seating options this year.
James Judson, a junior at Catonsville High School, built six 6-foot-long tables that will provide additional space for those enjoying the music at the natural amphitheater on the grounds of Catonsville High.
Judson's Eagle Scout project comes just in time for the traditional series-opening performance by the Catonsville High School Steel Band at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 7. On Sunday, Blue Train will perform something new in bluegrass at 6 p.m.
The theater will host 22 weekend concerts this summer with the exception of July 5 and 6.
Judson, 17, has been part of Boy Scout Troop 109 of the Dewey Lowman Post 109 of the American Legion, since fifth grade.
"I wanted to do something that would help the community," Judson said.
He built the project from scratch under the guidance of Greg Miller, 60, of Arbutus, an Eagle Scout coach for the troop, and with the help of other troop members.
They cut the wood and constructed the tables using a template that Miller created. It took about five hours to complete once they had all the materials, and the total cost was $746, Judson said.
"I think this is a great project because it really helps the [Lurman Woodland Theatre]," Miller said. "As their infrastructure depletes, they will have more tables for people to sit outside and listen to concerts."
James raised $350 for the project by holding a car wash at the Ice Cream Cottage in Arbutus. Donations came from Robnet Fasteners and Industrial Supply on Washington Boulevard, Anchor Trophy in Glen Burnie, and Millington Masonic Lodge of Catonsville, Judson said. The Home Depot on Washington Boulevard near the Baltimore Beltway offered a 20 percent discount on lumber, he said.
His parents, Linda and Gary Judson, offered their support throughout the project, James said.
Linda Judson said she hopes the project will offer concertgoers an extra option for seating.
"The few times that I've gone to the [theater], I've sat in the grass," she said. "But I think this will give people another option for seating."
David Wasmund, treasurer of the Friends of Lurman Woodland Theatre, the group responsible for coordinating the concerts, appreciated Judson's contribution.
"They're nice looking tables ... It gives us 13 tables, which is seating that does help. A number of people bring food for picnics and can eat it at a table rather than sitting or standing," Wasmund said.
The project was just one component of becoming an Eagle Scout, a lengthy process.
"It is quite an involved process and the Scout has to take the initiative to do a project and go that extra mile," Miller said.
The highest rank in Boy Scouting must be earned before age 18. Requirements include earning 21 merit badges; serving six months in a leadership position; planning, developing and leading a service project for a religious, school or community organization; taking part in a Scoutmaster conference; and completing an Eagle Scout board review.
His mother, who is a teacher at Our Lady of Victory Catholic School on Wilkens Avenue, has encouraged all three of her children to join the Scouts. Both of her daughters, Olivia, 15, and Alyssa, 19, have been part of the Girl Scouts as well.
She said it gives them, "leadership opportunities, a chance to give back to the community and provides them with communications skills.
"I think it's really important for them to be able to communicate with adults," she said.
Linda said she is proud of her son's accomplishment.
"I'm really proud of him. ... He is very humble, and so for him to get out there and coordinate this and learn to be flexible in the process, to me that is huge," Linda said. "This is by far the biggest thing he has ever done."
Judson will be the ninth member of the troop to become an Eagle Scout, Miller said.
Approximately 7 percent of Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank in 2013, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
Judson said the project was more than a learning experience in hammering and sawing.
"You get a sense of leadership," he said. "And it taught me how to manage my time.
"Although it was time consuming, in the end, it was worth it," Judson said.