This article was written by Jonathan Dame, Daily News Staff on August 3, 2017.
SUDBURY – It took five scouts three hours.
They dug a cylindrical hole two feet deep. They implanted and firmed a metal pole, first with rope and ultimately with concrete, and dirt, and they planted three Miss Ruby butterfly bushes in a half-circle around the perimeter.
Hopefully, a family of purple martin swallows will one day appreciate their labor. Hopkinton’s Austin Marques, 16, and four fellow Boy Scouts installed a birdhouse in front of Orchard Hill Assisted Living in Sudbury on Thursday.
Nearly two dozen seniors ate palmed-sized vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and drank Stars and Stripes strawberry lemonade as the scouts hoisted the birdhouse 12 feet into the air.
“I can hardly wait!” said 89-year-old Orchard Hill resident Norma Gorman. “I’m praying to see a bird, just one even, to go in there. I think that’s awesome, don’t you?”
“I’ve got my camera in here,” she said. “I’m going to watch that like a hawk to make sure they don’t move in without me watching.”
Marques installed the birdhouse as his Eagle Scout project. After Thursday’s event, he still needs to fill out paperwork, finish his personal fitness badge, and make a presentation to a Scout review board.
In June, Marques spent a day painting different, smaller birdhouses with Orchard Hill residents, for an art installation. He later returned and gave a presentation about his project and the bird he hopes it will attract: purple martins.
The birdhouse has three decks and two sides, seemingly able to house up to 18 birds. “That’s a mini-manse,” Gorman said. The birdhouse sat in the Marques family’s living room for two weeks as they slowly assembled it.
Orchard Hill resident John Edgar, 86, formerly of Stow, was curious how much the birdhouse weighed.
“I asked him, I said, ’How heavy is that?” Edgar said. “And he said, ‘It’s only five pounds.’ I couldn’t believe it! Of course, it’s all aluminum. Yeah, very interesting.”
Dan Marques, Austin’s dad, became an Eagle Scout himself in 1986, after he cleared a path and built a bridge over a small stream near Lake Whitehall in Hopkinton. He enrolled his son in cub scouts at age 7.
“It’s impressive to see his leadership with directing his peers, which is always a difficult thing to do,” Dan Marques said. “It’s gratifying for me to see him pull it all together.”
On Thursday, Austin Marques had the help of scouts Cameron Marques, 13, and Carter Marques, 12, of Shrewsbury, and Ethan Kramer, 16, and Aiden Scannevin, 14, of Hopkinton.
“This one seemed interesting because it was a little bit different,” Austin Marques said of his Eagle Scout project. “And it really helps senior citizens, it really impacts them more.”
Orchard Hill resident Rhoda Spangler, 79, is looking forward to spring 2018.
“I hope to see the birds, I really do,” Spangler said. “And the butterfly bushes, maybe we’ll see some butterflies too. It will be even nicer.”
Jonathan Dame can be reached at 508-626-3919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DameReports
On June 10th, Boy Scout, Austin M., joined by fellow Scout, Robert S., visited Orchard Hill to begin a three part series for his Eagle Scout Badge. The first phase of his community based service project is an inter-generational project with the residents and the scouts. During the afternoon gathering, a dozen residents joined Austin and Robert in painting the craft sized wooden bird houses. The interactive event drew other Orchard Hill resident family members as well! The vibrantly colored bird houses are currently displayed in a crab apple tree upon the entrance to the Community in a temporary art installation. Resident Temma expressed her joy in seeing them, “the cheeriness of the the houses make me smile every time I head outside!” Residents Jane, Mary, Pat and Joan said they felt, “…happy, fresh-air, smiling and peaceful”, when they see the houses.
Boy Scouts can receive their Eagle Scout badge by fulfilling certain requirements , http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/eagle.aspx, including earning 21 badges. While Austin is a Life Scout, he must plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before he actually started at Orchard Hill. He is required to use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, in meeting this requirement.
On July 20th, Austin will return to present the second part of his project to Orchard Hill Residents. His presentation, with a printed version as well, will discuss the project and the benefits to the Community. The goal of the project is to create another experience for the residents that they will enjoy for years to come.
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Orchard Hill at Sudbury’s Executive Director, Kris Leardi, is part of a Palliative Care Subcommittee, part of the larger PFAC group (Patient and Family Advisory Committee) for Milford Regional Medical Center located in Milford, Massachusetts. On Wednesday, April 26th from 6-7:30 pm, they are hosting a free information session and panel discussion at the New England Chapel at 40 Kenwood Circle in Franklin, Massachusetts, to learn more about Palliative Care and it’s benefits. To register call Christie Mulligan at 508.541.9078 or email her at: email@example.com.
Event flyer can be downloaded at http://www.milfordregional.org/app/files/public/1738/Palliative-Care-Forum.pdf