Mercer Island’s Pioneer Park has a new fence thanks to a local scout from Mercer Island’s Boy Scout Troop 647. As part of his path to become an Eagle Scout, 16-year-old Elliott Hendrickson partnered with the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Department to construct a 182-foot post-and-rail fence in the northwest corner of Pioneer Park.
Hendrickson’s Eagle Scout project was a large part of the requirement to attain Eagle Scout rank (the highest rank within the Boy Scouts).
“The road from the beginning is a long one,” project coach Kyle Sugamele said. “And consequently only about 4 percent of boy scouts attempt the Eagle project and attain the Eagle Scout rank.”
The project process requires focused project management, community interaction, leadership to volunteer workers and patience. According to Sugamele, Hendrickson demonstrated commitment, drive, leadership and the follow-through necessary to accomplish his successful Eagle project.
“Elliott is a very accomplished and dedicated scout, who embodies the spirit and qualities of an Eagle Scout,” Sugamele said.
In October 2018, Hendrickson contacted Kim Frappier from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to see what type of project he could do at Pioneer Park.
“I knew I wanted to do something in Pioneer Park,” Hendrickson said. “I use that park a lot. There [aren’t] many parks here, so I thought it would be a good location. I also thought it was cool that I can go there and see that I added something.”
During the planning process, Hendrickson worked closely with Frappier and the department to figure out what type of fence the park needed and how long it needed to be. The main goal for the project was to keep people and dogs from walking through the area so the Parks and Recreation Department can rehabilitate the soil and reestablish native trees and shrubs. The fence also delineates and beautifies the entrance to the park.
According to Hendrickson, some 29 scouts, eight adults, and three family members helped build the fence. Together, they finished the new Pioneer Park fence in one day during the month of May.
“I am so proud of Elliott’s Eagle Scout project accomplishment,” said Bruce Hendrickson — the troop’s scoutmaster and Hendrickson’s father. “It was so gratifying to see the many people who worked incredibly hard to build that fence. We had estimated it would take us two days to complete construction, and we were able to do it in just one day. There were Eagle Scouts no longer in our troop who came back to help out. That’s the kind of community service commitment scouting cultivates.”
Talking about the partnership, Hendrickson said it was “very nice” to work with the Parks and Recreation Department.
“Scouts need to take on an active role in planning. That is what was notable to me about Elliott,” Frappier said. “Elliott approached us and was interested in doing a project in the parks. He was really good about following the spirit of the Eagle Scout project and process by doing good project management and really taking our guidance to heart. I feel like Elliott really did a great job of taking the reigns.”
According to Frappier, the Parks and Recreation Department and other city departments have partnered with Boy Scouts for decades. They have a long history of supporting scouts who are seeking their Eagle Scout requirements.
The Parks and Recreation Department keeps a running list that might be suitable for a boy scout, but Frappier said the projects vary depending on the scout’s interest and need. The department has previously partnered with scouts on trail repairs, waste finding and fence building.
“We really value our partnership with the Boy Scouts and value the opportunity for continued collaboration,” she said. “We hope to continue for a long time to come.”
Frappier added that the department is always looking for volunteers that want to work with them. She said it takes a community to have green spaces and parks.
This summer, Hendrickson and other scouts will represent Mercer Island at the 24th World Scouting Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.