MAYVILLE - It's always great to hear about someone in the community uniting people to lead a project that enhances the quality of life for all residents.
It is even better when that someone is only 15 years old.
Those who have visited Lakeside Park in Mayville and had a chance to enjoy the new fitness area that was installed can thank Michael Parker. Parker led a project to set up physical fitness equipment like a balance beam, parallel bars and other adult exercise pieces in the park. Parker did it as part of his goal to become an Eagle Scout as a member of the Boy Scouts of America.
James, Judy, Michael and Joey Parker at Lakeside Park in Mayville stand next to adult fitness equipment. Michael led a crew of 30 people to install the equipment in order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
In order to achieve Eagle Scout, Parker needed to lead a community service project. Parker, who has been a Boy Scout for four years and has been in scouting for nine years, was looking for a project to better the community in order to be promoted. That is when Parker heard about playground equipment which was never installed at the park.
Several years ago, late state Sen. Patricia McGee was able to attain a grant for money to enhance the park, Parker said. A children's playground was built shortly after, but adult fitness equipment that was also purchased through the grant was never installed. Parker knew this could be his way of improving his community and completing his service project at the same time
''I wanted to do something that reflects what I'm involved in. I like to work out. Physical fitness is important to me,'' Parker said.
By working with members of the public, like Martin Bova, Mayville mayor, and fellow scouts in Troop 126, Parker started planning his project. From early August until the middle of September, Parker devised a plan for the park. Then he led 30 community members, which included scouts and their families, to install the equipment. He said it took about 12 hours over a few days to set up the equipment, build a wooden retention wall and place wood chips into the playground area.
The best part of the project for Parker is to be able to reflect on the finished product when he travels by the park.
''It is really cool to drive by and see people on it and using it to make themselves healthier,'' he said.
Parker said there are even diagrams installed to teach people how to use the equipment to do a full-body workout. The equipment is designed for those ages 13 and up.
When Parker was officially elevated to the rank of Eagle Scout in April, he was not the first family member to accomplish the rare feat. Parker is now part of three generations of Eagle Scouts. Parker has a great-uncle, three uncles and two cousins who have all accomplished the task.
''Since I was a Tiger Cub, I had the goal in mind of being an Eagle Scout,'' he said. ''It is an honor and privilege to be part of it, especially with my family's legacy. Also, it's great to be part of a select few who are part of this brotherhood of being an Eagle Scout.''
Parker's immediate family is also very involved in scouting. His younger brother Joey is also a Boy Scout, his mother, Judy, is a den mother and past cubmaster, and his father, James, leads camping trips and outdoor activities.
''My family has been really supportive in me doing this,'' he said. ''I've had a blast developing great relationships and learning basic life skills that are essential. Scouting has taught me a lot about life.''
Mrs. Parker said she is proud of Michael's accomplishments and continuing the family's legacy.
''I'm delighted they've learned and lived the life of scouting,'' she said about both her sons. ''I know what they learn as far as leadership qualities they will use the rest of their lives.''