Eagle Scout

Benjamin Smith sits in the firewood shelter he built as an Eagle Scout project at Yellow Creek State Park.

Campers staying at the yurts at Yellow Creek State Park now will find it easier to start a campfire.

Benjamin Smith, a member of Boy Scout Troop 10, Penn Run, led a service project to build a firewood shelter at the Yurt Colony.

The project, completed in May, was one such accomplishment that he needed to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Scouting.

Prior to Benjamin’s project, campers had to walk a couple of hundred yards down the hill to get dry firewood at a shelter located at the park’s Cottage Colony.

“I just felt that it would be a worthy Eagle Scout project,” said Benjamin, a Strongstown area resident and junior at United High School.

“It will give more people the opportunity to rent the yurts because they would not have a long walk to get firewood.”

The shelter is 12 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 7 feet in height, said the 16-year-old.

Helping him to build the shelter were his parents, Robert and Patricia Smith; his brother, Ryan, who is an Eagle Scout; his scoutmaster, Thomas Lester; and members of his troop.

He said that the shelter cost him nearly $1,000 to build. He raised the money for the project by sending donation letters to family members and friends.

He said that The Long Barn Inc. II, of St. Michael, gave him a discount on the lumber, nails and screws. Krevel Supply, of Clymer, donated two tons of gravel to create a base for the shelter. The state park donated the shingles for the roof and also four ash pits that Benjamin installed at each of the yurts for campers to dispose of ashes.

Benjamin said that he appreciates all the support he received for his project.

He said his troop is active, having conducted service projects such as placing American flags on the graves of veterans and painting the bleachers at Clymer Ballfield.

Benjamin has been involved in Scouting since he was in Grade 1, when he joined Cub Scout Pack 9 in Brush Valley.

He transferred to Cub Scout Pack 10 in Penn Run during his last year in the program.

While a Boy Scout, he earned four of the religious emblem awards. He also has been the senior patrol leader, troop guide and Order of the Arrow representative for his troop.

In high school, Benjamin participates on the varsity baseball and golf teams.

For his effort with the firewood-shelter project, Benjamin is the Person of the Week.

Lester said Benjamin’s project turned out well.

“I was impressed,” said the Troop 10 Scoutmaster.

“It’s a nice addition to the state park.”

Benjamin’s project turned out well because Benjamin did a fine job of guiding the work, Lester said.

“He leads by example,” Lester said about Benjamin’s nature, evidenced throughout his years in Scouting.

Park manager James H. Tweardy said the firewood shelter has been a tremendous help to campers this year.

“A campfire is an integral part of the camping experience. Now both the cottages and the yurts have a convenient supply of wood that campers can rely on,” he said.

“They also have a place to dispose of ash and coals, which keeps people safe and the park looking beautiful.

“We are honored to have been able to help a Scout became an Eagle Scout and are appreciative for the improvements to our park.”

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5058. Follow him on Twitter @FrankNews10.

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