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Troop 77 Eagle Scouts Benefit Bernice’s Place

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From left: Sean Melone, Joe Ensslin, Carina Grajales (director Bernice’s Place), Kyle Huber, Noah Ensslin
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Four boy scouts from Troop 77 in Westfield who recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout chose Bernice’s Place as the recipient organization of their Eagle Scout projects. Bernice’s Place is part of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless and is an afterschool and summer program for elementary school-age children who are homeless or at-risk, offering a safe and supportive place to learn and play.

All of these scouts chose Bernice’s Place because they have been volunteering there since middle school and wanted to help the kids.

Kyle Huber realized that the outdoor area of Bernice’s Place could use some cleaning up. For his Eagle Scout project, he installed a new picnic table and benches, and revitalized the yard and garden area. Enlisting the help of the children, he planted the garden with vegetables. Throughout the summer and early fall, the children were able to enjoy and take home fresh vegetables. “When I saw how much the fresh vegetables and the garden meant to the kids and their families last summer, my family and I decided to replant the garden this spring.” Kyle is a senior at Westfield High School and will be attending Purdue University in the fall.

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Noah Ensslin designed and built a science cart for his Eagle Scout project. He filled the cart with age-appropriate science experiments that included all materials and instructions so anyone can run the program. According to Noah, “The science program shows the children that science can be fun, and it also lets them see that they can learn on their own if they put their minds to it. I realized that I am able to use my own passions and talents to make an impact on the lives of others, and I am confident that my project will allow other youth leaders to realize they can, too.” Noah is a senior at Westfield High School and will be attending Stevens Institute of Technology this fall.

Joseph Ensslin used his passion and enjoyment of music to create a music program for his Eagle Scout project. He collected over twelve musical instruments as well as numerous music stands. He put together a large cabinet for storage of the instruments and materials for the program. He raised over $1,700 to repair instruments, purchase lesson books and materials, and was able to allocate money to keep the instruments in good working order. As part of his project, Joe formed a club at Westfield High School, “Music for Bernice’s Place,” where the members go to teach lessons a couple of times a month. “Music is such an important part of my life,” says Joe. “I wanted to provide that opportunity for these kids who otherwise may never have the opportunities with music that I had. It was important to me that my Eagle Scout project was something that would continue past my time, and that’s what this program will do.” Joe is also a senior at Westfield High School and will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall.

Sean Melone saw the need to organize the kitchen area in Bernice’s Place where many donations were haphazardly stored. For his Eagle Scout project, he built wooden shelving, moved items into plastic bins for storage and labeled everything. His project increased the overall storage space while making the area more functional. Sean is a senior at Westfield High School and will be attending Stevens Institute of Technology this fall.

Only 4 percent of Boy Scouts are granted rank of Eagle Scout after a lengthy review process and is the highest rank attainable for a Boy Scout. The requirements necessary to achieve this rank take years to fulfill. Since its founding, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by almost 2.5 million young men. Troop 77 out of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield has 101 scouts who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

For information about Troop 77, contact Scoutmaster, Donald Pizzi, at donaldmpizzi@gmail.com.

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