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Guest column by Anthony Picchi: MH Scout learns how to lead with his Eagle project

Team refurbishes Galvin Park baseball field

Published in the February 15 – 28, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Anthony Picchi

A Boy Scout volunteer helps improve Galvan Park’s baseball field. Photo courtesy Anthony Picchi

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program. The road to achieving that title contained for me many metaphorical bumps, potholes and even some time at a rest stop. It was not easy to stay on track, but it ended up being one of my most fun and most rewarding journeys so far in life.

The peak of my experience in my Eagle journey occurred with my project in July at Morgan Hill’s Galvin Park. It was a true culmination of leadership, communication, collaboration and community service — all packed into three hot summer days.

I needed to plan and execute an Eagle project and that process started in March. Easy enough … I thought. I looked around Morgan Hill for sites in need of restoration. I was ecstatic to see that Galvin Park and its baseball field where I practiced as a 10-year-old needed restoration. I contacted Dale Dapp, maintenance supervisor for the city of Morgan Hill, and asked him if I could take on the project. After a thumbs-up, I met with my project mentor, Lynn Liebschutz. I thought back to my ball-player perspective and started listing off all the improvements I wanted to make to the field: new mound, new home plate, replace cracked cement, new fences — the list went on. “Mr. L” probably thought I was going to work myself to death. He kindly helped me realize goals slightly smaller, yet more attainable.

After two meetings with Dapp, I had my project proposal signed off and scheduled to start at the beginning of June. Then I realized how much more work I still needed to finish. I needed to determine the exact number and types of tools, supplies, and materials we would use each day, how we would use them, how we would transport them to the site, and where we would get them. After numerous trips to local stores, I received generous help and donations of paint rollers and trays from Johnson Lumber, paint and primer from Kelly-Moore, and clay dirt from U-Save Rockery.

In July I was left with one of the most difficult tasks: finding a team to help me. It is tough to track down Scouts to volunteer in the summer. That’s not surprising. An air-conditioned house seems much more inviting than working outside in 98 degree heat. I cashed in a few favors and made countless phone calls to finally round up a group of 11 Scouts to work throughout the three days.

After the project started, time seemed to fly. The first day we scraped the paint off a bench, filled in the holes in the batter’s boxes, and pulled many of the infield weeds. By the second day we had primed the bench, pulled the rest of the weeds and rebuilt most of the pitcher’s mound. Finally on the third day, we put two coats of paint on the bench, took out cement in center field, finished the mound and raked the field.

By the end I was dead tired. But seeing the excitement of the baseball players when they saw their new field made it worthwhile. Now, I have a new-found respect for city maintenance workers. I know how much time and communication is needed for even the smallest projects. On top of that, I have a greater appreciation for Boy Scouts, especially the members of Troop 730, for helping me develop the leadership, communication skills, and enthusiasm that I will use the rest of my life.

Bellarmine College Preparatory student Anthony Picchi earned his Eagle Scout rank last year. He wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.