22,000 bricks later: an Eagle Scout Award

Danielle Kincs

On the cold morning of Halloween, volunteers sat huddled brushing off the excavated bricks of BSM’s reflection path. Half of the bricks that once made up the winding path from the softball field to the track were already loaded on pallets.

While many other students may have been planning out their night of trick-or-treating (or more likely, egging houses), sophomore Stephen Bauer paced while on the phone, supervising the entire project and showing greater responsibility than most others his age.

Stephen Bauer, a member of the Boy Scouts of America since he was seven, has been working on his Eagle Scout project for hundreds of hours, that Halloween afternoon accounting for only eight hours of it.

“The Eagle Scout is the highest rank in scouting,” said Bauer, who has had to complete several ranks before it. To achieve it, a scout has to organize, approve, and carry out a service project. “It is the biggest requirement in scouting,” said Bauer, “the project is a minimum of of 100 hours.”

However, Bauer’s project has taken nearly four times as long. “My project has taken between 300 and 400 hours so far,” said Bauer, having taken into account the hours of planning, as well as the time his mother has spent preparing meals. “It’s usually a six month process,” said Bauer. “I started about a month ago.”

It had all started when Dr. Sue Skinner sent him an e-mail asking him if he wanted to use his Eagle Scout project to help the school. Because of BSM’s current construction projects, the path was going to be torn up and the bricks thrown away. “It’s a recycling project,” said Bauer.

After meeting and discussing with Dr. Bob Tift on September 23, Stephen Bauer decided to undertake the expansive project. “I thought it was a really good cause,” said Bauer, “I thought it was really cool to do something for the school.”

Bauer and some volunteers–mostly other scouts and neighbors–then began dismantling the path, cleaning the dirt off the bricks, and stacking them up on pallets for OPUS (the construction company hired by BSM) to transport. “I volunteered to clean the bricks off so they’re ready for the future,” said Bauer, having taken extra initiative.

After he worked on the path for only two weekends in October, Bauer was determined to get more of the path done. “The deadline was November 1,” said Bauer, “[but] I would still like to get more done.” Because of the ongoing construction plans and the winter frost, it was important to get as many bricks up as soon as possible. Bauer then proceeded to work the next weekend in an attempt to get more of the path done.

Bauer was able to get 500 feet out of the 700 done in just two weekends. Along with taking up the bricks, they also collected and saved the stations of the cross.

“Every extra thing I get done is like extra credit,” said Bauer. “I basically volunteered for another 100 feet.” His required service hours already fulfilled, Bauer had a passion and a strong work ethic to go even further.

As for volunteers, Bauer received great help from his parents and from his eagle advisor Louie Ansolabehere. Bauer also sought help from the school community. “I contacted Mr. Zeckser to get some RKVC kids involved,” said Bauer.

However, only a disappointing seven or eight kids showed up for half-day shifts. “I [had] wanted to get more from the school,” said Bauer. One faithful friend and fellow sophomore Teddy Brown showed up for some time as well simply because “Stephen asked [him] to.”

Stephen Bauer, clearly dedicated to making his school a better place, was well on his way to achieving his well-deserved Eagle Scout ranking, learning the meaning of service and leadership–over 22,000 bricks later.