Sykesville teen Ben Bergamaschi is one step closer to becoming an Eagle Scout after completing work on a service project which could help save a life.
Bergamaschi, 15, a Century High School sophomore, has been involved in scouting for seven years. During the last several months he has implemented a plan to build and install three structures around Piney Branch Lake at Piney Run Park in Sykesville, outfitted with lifesaving equipment to use during water emergencies.
An Eagle Project is an opportunity for a member of Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America) to demonstrate leadership while performing a project for the benefit of their community. This is the culmination of the Scout’s leadership training and it requires a significant effort on his or her part. The project must benefit an organization other than the BSA and it cannot be performed for an individual or a business or be commercial in nature. Completing an Eagle Project is a requirement in order for Scouts to attain the Eagle Scout rank, the highest rank in scouting.
Bergamaschi said the idea for his Eagle Project came after reading about a similar project in a magazine. Along with his fellow Scouts from Troop 1231, Bergamaschi said he constructed 4-foot by 4-foot signposts to hold a life preserver and a throw rope. The signposts also display information from the American Red Cross which outlines the “Drowning Chain of Survival.”
Brian Bergamaschi, Ben’s father and committee chair for Troop 1231, said a lot of fundraising went into the project, including a car wash event in Eldersburg that raised almost $1,200.
“It’s a very proud day to be his father and to see him grow the way he has over the past few years,” Brian said. “He’s really come out of his shell since becoming a Scout and has even been a senior patrol leader in his troop.”
After a presentation from the Scout, the Knights of Columbus at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Eldersburg donated $500 to the project; Detachment No. 896 of the Marine Corps League in Westminster also donated funds.
David Brown, a member of the detachment, said once Bergamaschi becomes an Eagle Scout, the Marine Corps League will present him with an Outstanding Citizen Certificate.
“This experience has taught me a lot of things like leadership, how to guide people, how to communicate and how to bring people together,” Bergamaschi said. “I’m proud of the project because it could save a life.”
Jason Pape, an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 1231, said Eagle Scout Projects are designed to place the Scout as the leader of a team completing a large task.
“That is a place Ben excelled … He did a really good job coordinating the whole thing,” he said. “What I’m most proud of is he reached out to outside organizations for help.”
Pape said Bergamaschi’s project stands out because it could actually save a life.
“We all hope the [lifesaving equipment] will never have to be used, but if it’s needed, it’s there,” Pape said. “Ben is an avid fisherman at the park and this was the perfect way for him to give back.”
Bergamaschi’s project will be submitted to the Baltimore Area Council of Scouts BSA soon, and if approved, he will achieve the Eagle Scout rank.
“Ben did a great job on his project,” said Trevor Colby, Troop 1231 scoutmaster. “I’m proud of him and all Scouts who reach the rank of Eagle.”