The baseball and softball fields at Hawkins Elementary School in Brighton are looking a lot spiffier these days, thanks to Boy Scout Ryan Gigax.
Gigax, a member of Brighton Boy Scout Troop 350, led and organized an effort to make major improvements to the facilities as part of his Eagle Scout service project.
The folks at the Brighton Youth Baseball and Softball Program (BYBSP) couldn’t be more thrilled. The organization plays many of its games at Hawkins.
“When Ryan approached the BYBSP board about his Eagle Scout project, we were all excited and asked what we could do to support him,” said BYBSP President Sharon Tullar. “Ryan has participated in the BYBSP organization for many years and is a great representative of our organization. His desire to give back to the community is exactly what all of us on the board strive to do.
“Ryan took the lead on this project, worked with all the parties involved and showed true leadership,” she added. “Ryan did a fantastic job and should be proud. We can’t thank him enough.”
The project included installing and building four benches in four dugouts; staining the benches; and installing new bat racks. They also washed the dugouts and filled in the cracks in the walls.
Gigax led the project from start to finish, spending 212 hours planning, organizing and fundraising. He then organized a crew of 32 parent and youth volunteers from his Troop to do the project, as they put in more than 200 total hours doing the work.
“I raised the money by setting up a GoFundMe, doing can drives in my neighborhood, and selling popcorn through my Troop,” Gigax said. “All of the paint and painting supplies were donated by the School and Brighton Youth Baseball and Softball Program.”
In order to become an Eagle Scout – the highest honor a Boy Scout can attain – a Scout must complete a service project to benefit the community. Gigax said that his project was a natural fit.
“I wanted to do this project because as I played on these fields the past five years I felt some improvements would make the fields a lot better to play,” he said. “The benches were just 2×10’s on cinder blocks or attached to the wall by angle brackets. We would come in the dugout after an inning and not be able to comfortably sit down and rest. The bats always got in the way when we were trying to get out of the dugout and get on the field. So I built the benches to give kids that play on the field a better experience. I also created bat racks so the bats would be out of the way when going in and out of the dugout.”
The dugouts are looking much better in every way.
“I painted the dugouts because they were tan and were not Brighton colors and had some graffiti on them,” Gigax said. “I also created these benches so the fields would look nicer and the kids would have a better time because the dugouts are nicer which helps make the field look nicer.”
Gigax said he takes great pride in the finished product.
“I wanted to do this project because I have been playing baseball since I was 5 and wanted my project to be something baseball-related,” he said. “This project made me realize I can do more on my own than what I thought I could do. It also showed me that I am not just a quiet, shy teenager, but that I can step up and be a leader.”