Special Committee Meeting On Andrew Wittenmyer's Eagle Project

Date/Time: August 1, 2013; 7:30 p.m.
Attendees: Ron Brown, Chair; David Chicks, Greg Lincicome (secretary), Robert Seifert, Norm Vanderwal, Andrew Wittenmyer, Bruce Wittenmyer

The purpose of this special committee meeting was to review the Eagle Scout project plan of Andrew Wittenmyer. Norm has been coaching Andrew from the committee side and Bruce has worked with Andrew also.

The project is to build a gazebo in a little used, wooded area on the property of Bellevue Presbyterian Church. Andrew brought copies of the plan and some sketches of the finished product and the work site; he gave a brief overview of the project and then took questions from the committee for about 30 minutes. The following is a summary of Andrew’s responses and the committee’s feedback, grouped roughly by topics covered (not chronological).

1) Initial Planning: Andrew has already presented the plan to Mr. Burbank, the church’s representative. They discussed permitting, the appropriateness of the site, fundraising and other topics. Mr. Burbank has given the church’s approval (as the benefitting organization).

Andrew’s project plan includes building a scale model to verify the construction techniques (some of which are unusual) and further refine the design. The model will also provide a chance to help plan the process of sub-assembly (done in the parking lot near the site) and final assembly. Committee suggested bringing the model to the job site during construction; if everyone can see what the finished product should look like, everyone can be on the lookout for errors.

2) Project Scope: Andrew expects the project to require a number of hours in model making and pre-cutting of pieces. Andrew and Bruce will take care of most or all of this. The team portion of the project is expected to take 2 days, tentatively 2 consecutive Saturdays. The first day would be devoted to site preparation (clearing non-native plants, improving the trail to the work site, any foundation prep work and setting up the anchoring mechanism on the tree that will act as the main support. The second day would be for sub-assembly of the gazebo panels, laying the foundation and final assembly, and site clean-up (some new plants will be added to the area in place of the non-native plants that were removed).

Andrew expects this to take a crew of about 10 people each day. Ron suggested that the troop would probably volunteer one of the days, and some people might volunteer both days, but most would not. Greg noted that the first day’s work is more appropriate for scouts, particularly our younger scouts, while the second day’s work will require more skill and strength. It might be good to concentrate our scout volunteers on the first weekend and encourage any volunteers from Bellevue Pres to help out on the second weekend. David encouraged Andrew to plan for the project to take a third day to account for contingencies (weather, material shortage etc.)

Ten people for 2 full days is definitely a big project and Norm asked Andrew what he thought would be the most difficult part of the work days. Andrew thought making a detailed enough work plan to keep the work going smoothly would be the hardest part. Committee agreed that this is usually a hard part of any Eagle project, especially for scouts with Andrew’s temperament (Jimmy Siefert is an example). Leading a crew of this size is also difficult, whether the crew is made up of young kids who are easily distracted or of adults who tend to take things over. David noted that it is especially difficult to keep from jumping in and doing the work yourself. Ron suggested that Andrew may need to designate a couple of volunteers as foremen, since he won’t be able to supervise all the work. The foremen have to know that Andrew is the project leader, though, and they should come to him with any questions.

3) Construction: committee asked a number of questions regarding choice of materials for the foundation and walls, construction methods, the type of plants to be removed and planted, whether the site was zoned as wetland, etc. Andrew was particularly well-prepared and well-spoken on these issues.

4) Budget: Andrew did some preliminary estimates with Bruce at local home supply stores. Bob thought the construction cost estimate might be low in comparing it with the final costs of Jimmy’s project , but Andrew defended the basic assumptions; certainly a scale model will help flesh out the costs. Committee (can’t remember who) also suggested reviewing the costs related to food for the crew and other expenses.

Andrew plans to fundraise mostly by talking to family members and asking for donations at Bellevue Pres. He noted that he would have to get approval from Council in order to fundraise any other way, including asking for donations in kind. However, Bellevue Pres noted in their acceptance of the project that any donations above the cost of the project would be given to the church and acknowledged that Andrew would be fundraising in their name. It didn’t make sense to the committee that Boy Scouts would have to approve how Andrew raised funds for Bellevue Pres, but no resolution was reached. Hopefully this won’t be an issue anyway.

5) Timing: Andrew wants to finish the project this summer before the weather becomes an issue—tentatively mid-September. Committee thought that was a pretty ambitious timeline, considering some of the major pieces that need to come together—modeling, fundraising, pre-assembly work, recruiting teams. Andrew does have a lot of time to concentrate on the project during the summer, and is motivated to finish before the weather turns poor.

David made a motion that the project receive committee approval and Greg seconded. The project was unanimously approved.


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