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Teen helps complete Boring park project

Boy earns Scoutings Eagle Award by spearheading effort to finish park landscaping


by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - POST PHOTO: JIM HART Ben Brinkman, 15, at left, of Boring gives directions to one of three dozen people of all ages who assisted with his Eagle Scout project, landscaping areas of Boring Station Trailhead Park.When Boring residents and their friends gather in the park for the annual Christmas tree lighting this weekend, they’ll notice improvements.

Since the last community activity, a Boring teenager has directed the changes.

Boring residents and passers-by have been looking at Boring Station Trailhead Park for months and probably wondering when its landscaping would be completed.

The park had been installed and dedicated, but the available funding wasn’t enough to finish all phases of the project.

The solution was obvious: Organize a work party of volunteers and gain donations of plants.

Then get to work.

For 15-year-old Ben Brinkman, being a part of the solution was a natural. He had grown up on a Boring nursery and needed a practical community service project to earn the Eagle Scout Award. Ben is a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop No. 544.

“When I would go past the park, pretty much every day, I would think about it as an Eagle project,” Ben said, “and I saw that (community volunteers) had worked on it but couldn’t finish it.”

To follow the guidelines for an Eagle project, Ben had to plan the project, write a description of what he intended to accomplish, gather all the materials at the project site, find volunteers who would come to the site on the appointed day, teach the necessary skills to those who needed help and supervise the work until it was complete.

The Eagle Award is a significant achievement in Scouting, according to the Boy Scouts of America website.

Standards have been set to judge the performance of each Scout applicant for the award.

Only about 5 percent of Boy Scouts across the nation achieve the Eagle level of leadership, citizenship, character development and personal fitness, according to the website.

While Ben is a few years younger than most Eagle Scout applicants, his mother, Sheri Brinkman, says he is as capable as any Scout nearing an 18th birthday, which is the deadline for achieving that high award.

“(Ben) wanted to avoid the rush (at the last minute) when he turns 18,” his mother said, “so he is doing it early.”

Being surrounded by a nursery for his entire life certainly made it easier for the young man to accomplish his goal.

“(Ben) has grown up on (the Mountain Spring Farm and Nursery owned by David and Sheri Brinkman) in Boring, so he has a plant-based Eagle project,” Sheri Brinkman said, “and (the park) is right here in our back yard.”

The day of the project offered its own challenges, including supervising the work of 35 people of all ages, working in a temperature in the low to mid-40s and putting up with rain all day. Even with all of that long day’s work, Ben said he had a lot of work to prepare for that day.

Ben contacted a number of nurseries and secured plant material donations for the park’s landscaping from eight nurseries in Damascus, Boring and Sandy.

Ben had to follow the initial plan for the park and produce a plan with specific plant species and their locations that would receive approval from the Clackamas County Parks Department.

He also had to coordinate his efforts through the Friends of Boring Station Trailhead Park, with Dan O’Dell as chairman.

On the day of the group’s work, Ben supervised the three dozen volunteers until the work was done. Besides his local-resident volunteers, Ben received assistance from Jeroen Kok and Doug Garfield, both of the Clackamas County Parks Department.

O’Dell presented Ben with an appropriate T-shirt as a way of offering appreciation for his work, which O’Dell called “an outstanding community service project.”

“These joint efforts, led by Ben Brinkman,” O’Dell said, “are what community is all about.”

Editor’s note:

O’Dell is looking for a garden club or individuals willing to be responsible for annual plantings in the center area of the park. He also has other projects around the park that would provide a project for another group, organization or club.

For information, call O’Dell at 503-663-2105.