Last August, La Salle 10th grader and Vernon School alum Will Hambuchen approached his principal, Ben Keefer, with the desire to complete an Eagle Scout project that would help the school. A few ideas were discussed and eventually they agreed on building a bike shelter. Vernon already had one bike shelter on site, but Hambuchen felt it wasn’t enough, and so they decided on adding one next to it.
“There is never enough room for all the bikes at school, especially when it rains.” says Hambuchen, 15. Hambuchen regularly bikes to school and his two siblings will attend Vernon in the fall.
Hambuchen is a Life Scout and member of local Scouts Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop #117. Through BSA, he and other boys and girls earn merit badges to advance through the scout system. The culmination of this advancement is becoming an Eagle Scout which requires a service project.
And completing an Eagle Scout project is no small feat. Projects must be driven by the scouts themselves and require formal cost estimates and plans, board approval, coordination with other non-profits involved, donated funds and materials and the use of volunteers. The bike shelter at Vernon School is one such project.
The Vernon School PTA approved the project provided that the new bike shelter be identical to the one that was already there. Hambuchen did not have the original blueprints, but the other shelter was there so, in fall 2022, Hambuchen and his dad Steve went out to take pictures, get measurements, and create a materials list for the new bike shelter.
“Almost all of the materials for the bike shelter were donated” says Hambuchen, who succeeded in securing donations from local companies Parr Lumber and Mr. Plywood. The Vernon PTA encouraged Hambuchen to reach out to PBOT, who offered to donate and install the metal bike racks.
“People were very willing to help out” says Hambuchen, who says it was not hard to secure donations. The bike shelter was built over a 3-day weekend in early June. About half a dozen Vernon school students and alumni came out to help with drilling holes in concrete, heavy lifting, leveling and squaring everything.
The bike shelter is an 8 X 10-foot room made with pressure treated wood. The last step, which will be completed this month, is installing the 15 or so metal bike racks.
When asked what his biggest learning experience was, Steve Hambuchen says that with all the communication and coordinating, his son’s skills in writing and reading email communications “improved dramatically.” The new bike shelter will be completed and ready to use by the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
Dina Sage is the Managing Editor for CNews and enjoys engaging in the arts and outdoor activities.