Even as a little boy it was obvious Joseph Marsicano was destined to be a Boy Scout. He took to the Boy Scouts of America’s motto, “Be prepared,” early on.
“He would wear not one but two watches to preschool,” his father Jon said, smiling.
“What if one broke?” Joseph, now 16, added with a chuckle. “What if I was off time? What if the battery ran out?”
Even now friends tease him good-naturedly about always being prepared. Need a trash bag when stumbling upon some unexpected trash? He’s got one in the car. Need duct tape for a quick handyman’s fix? “I keep a roll of duct tape in my locker at school,” he said.
So, it is not surprising that Joseph, who joined the Cub Scouts in second grade and then Boy Scout Troop 716 in fifth grade, is now an Eagle Scout candidate. And it is also not surprising that when he chose his Eagle Scout project, he set his sights high — very high.
“I knew I wanted to do something big,” said Joseph, who lives in Eldersburg.
That “something big” was raising more than $20,000 to purchase and install two solar-powered scoreboards for the soccer and lacrosse fields at Freedom Park in Sykesville. The project also included building boxes around the base of the scoreboards.
Joseph said he wanted to provide efficient scoreboards with low maintenance that were environmentally friendly.
“It’s the largest Eagle Scout project I have ever seen,” said Ryan Pond, vice president of Freedom Lacrosse, which is affiliated with the Freedom Area Recreation Council. “We love it.”
For Joseph it was a natural project to take on. A lacrosse and soccer player himself, he remembers more than once wondering what the score was during a game or how much time was on the clock.
“We had these little flip scoreboards,” Joseph said.
Now, “It’s a whole new experience,” Pond said of playing on the fields.
The project took about two years and was finished in January. And there were those who initially attempted to deter Joseph — or at least encourage him to have a Plan B. After all, it was an ambitious amount of money to be raised.
“Usually an Eagle Scout project like that will raise $2,000 or so,” Pond said. “This was huge.”
But Joseph was determined — even if expectations turned out to be a bit higher than he anticipated.
“When I first proposed the project, I just wanted to do one scoreboard,” he said. “But the Freedom president was like, ‘How about two?’ ”
According to Pond, the Freedom Area Recreation Council, the lacrosse council and the soccer council told Joseph they would match him if he raised $10,000.
“I would say, ‘You’re shooting for the stars here,’ ” Jon said. “But he would say, ‘I’m going to do this.’ He was all in on it. That’s him. That’s who he is.”
Joseph, who wants to attend the Naval Academy and maybe pursue a career in cybersecurity, set about creating a GoFundMe crowdfunding page and passed a bucket around for donations during games. He coordinated restaurant nights with local eateries such as Salerno’s and E.W. Beck’s. And he approached corporations, foundations, and organizations such as the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation and the American Legion with both agreeing to provide financial support.
“The American Legion, for example, was in awe,” Joseph said. “They were like, ‘This is an absolutely amazing project.’ ”
Others who stepped in to help and to offer support for the project included Shannon-Baum Signs and the International Union of Elevator Constructors.
And then there was his own family who did their part, including his 13-year-old brother Nico and his 12-year-old sister Caitlyn.
“Joseph was so eager to finish this project before Freedom’s lacrosse season started that the whole family jumped in during last fall, early winter to help,” Renee, Joseph’s mother, said of the construction of the boxes around the base of scoreboards. “His brother Nico was using a pickaxe to get through the frozen ground. And Caitlyn was pushing a wheel barrel of gravel to the boxes.”
Throughout the project Joseph was also learning lots of life skills, Renee said.
When one scoreboard was delivered damaged, for example, “He made the phone calls,” she said. “He handled it.”
“I think this has been a great experience for him,” she added.
“This is a young man of impeccable character,” Pond said of Joseph, who is also a member of the Order of the Arrow, the honor society of the Boy Scouts of America. “He is hard working, disciplined and persistent.”
And successful. Much to the delight of the community that supported him and will now benefit from his Eagle Scout project for years to come.
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“I can’t wait to say to everyone, ‘See those scoreboards? My brother did that,’ ” Caitlyn said.