Spring City resident and Eagle Scout Matthew Waldschmidt put forth a fantastic good neighbor effort recently, as he led a team that constructed a much-needed storage shed at the Spring City pool in order to complete his Eagle Scout project.
Waldschmidt, who will be a sophomore at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, has been involved in scouting for seven years. He got his start as a Cub Scout in 3rd grade with Pack 85 of Phoenixville before crossing over to the Boy Scouts by joining Kimberton’s Troop 158.
Waldschmidt’s project consisted of constructing the pool’s new storage shed as well as smaller projects on site that included installation of pavers, painting, planting perennials, and performing a general cleanup of the pool grounds.
Waldschmidt saw the pool project as an ideal opportunity to pay back the community he lives in. Plus, not only is the Spring City pool located in his neighborhood, it is also where he had earned his merit badge for swimming and where he had taken swimming lesson when he was younger.
“It was really important for me to find something local,” said Waldschmidt. “There are lists for different places where Eagle Scout can do their projects, but Spring City does not have one. So I contacted (Sue Grumblatt, a Spring City pool board member) about the needs of the Spring City pool. They really wanted to have a storage shed since the pool building has very limited storage.”
So it was that Waldschmidt and his team, a group of seven scouts and seven adults, came to break ground on the project on April 7. The new shed, a partially pre-fabricated shed manufactured by Homestead Manufacturing of New Holland, PA, required quite a bit of labor to build.
“It took about six work days to complete the project,” Waldschmidt said. “We usually worked from about 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m. The roof alone, a gable roof that was suggested by Sue because it would maximize the storage capacity, took seven hours to finish.”
In order for the pool to open for business by Memorial Day, Waldschmidt and his crew had to operate on a deadline, which is uncommon for Eagle Scout projects. Nonetheless, the shed was finished on May 18.
According to Grumblatt, the shed will be used to store lounge chairs in the offseason, and umbrellas, vacuums, and other equipment during swimming season.
“We had a need for something like this for several years,” she said. “We are so very grateful that Matt chose us for his Eagle Scout project.”
The cost of the project, which was financed by those in charge of the Spring City pool, was approximately $2,000. Some of the material costs – apart for the shed – were discounted thanks to a program in place at Lowe’s where Eagle Scouts get a reduction in the cost of materials used on their projects.
Waldschmidt said that he was able to gain a lot of useful knowledge and experience from the project.
“I learned how to toenail, what ‘16 inches on center’ means, how to lay shingles and use a nail gun, and I am (became) better at swinging a hammer,” he said.
In terms of organization of the project, Waldschmidt said he needed to work very hard to make sure that everything fell into line according to a plan that he had designed.
“The toughest part of this was the time management and having the right (personnel) lined up for each day as the project went on. I had a master schedule that I worked off of. You need to have a plan and schedule for something as involved as this (because) there were things that needed to be complete by a certain time. So I planned it all out and had it schedules from everything from construction to clean up.”
He added that it was crucial for him to be involved as a builder and project manager, as an Eagle Scout project requires that the scout be a hands-on member of a team rather than completing a project alone or serving as a passive supervisor directing the work of others.
“He planned and executed the project very well (by) utilizing the talents of the various workers involved,” said Troop 158 Scoutmaster Patrick Conway, who participated in the construction.
Waldschmidt said that there were “too many to thank”, though a special mention went to his mother Robin who he said was “great with the reminders,” and to Assistant Scoutmaster Fred Stoudt, Troop 158 Committee Chairperson Chris Gilbert, and Conway, who all had a major hand in the construction. Waldschmidt also gave thanks to Grumblatt.
“Sue was very nice to work with for everything involved with the project,” Waldschmidt said.
With his Eagle Scout project now finished, Waldschmidt will now devote his focus to his school work, although he still intends to stay as active as he possibly can with his troop.
“It is good for the troop if I can serve as an example for other scouts. Now I will be focusing on getting my Eagle Palms and the final level of my religious emblem,” he said.
“Matthew has been a scout in Troop 158 for about 5 years. I have seen tremendous growth in him as an individual and a leader. It is important for the younger scouts in the troop to have older scouts like Matthew and others to teach them various skills. Leadership in scouting is done by the youth,” said Conway.