Scout completes project for Macomb Corners Park

By: Thomas Franz | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published October 28, 2015

 Eric Joye is pictured standing next to the vending machine shelter that he led the construction of for an Eagle Scout project.

Eric Joye is pictured standing next to the vending machine shelter that he led the construction of for an Eagle Scout project.

Photo provided by Susan Joye

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Eric Joye had gone through all of the steps necessary to begin a project that would help him earn the distinction of Eagle Scout when suddenly he realized that he would have to start all over.

His original plan, which needed to be fully fundraised and approved by his troop’s leaders, was to build picnic tables for the Macomb Township Parks and Recreation Department.

However, the wood that was purchased for the tables was too flexible, and wasn’t suitable for the project.

After scratching that proposal, the parks department suggested that he build a shelter for a vending machine near the ball fields in Macomb Corners Park. The wood worked just fine for that project, which Joye completed in early October.

“I ordered special wood called polywood. I wasn’t that familiar with it — neither was my dad or anybody, so we ordered it, but unfortunately we couldn’t create a picnic table with it. It was really flexible, so if you put a gallon of milk on it, it would bend,” Joye said.

Joye’s vending machine shelter project was one of several requirements he had to complete to become an Eagle Scout. A number of merit badges must be earned by the scout, along with attending campouts and obtaining leadership positions within the troop.

Joye, a senior at Dakota High School, is a member of Troop 149, which draws its members from Macomb Township and Glen Peters School.

When Joye initially began his picnic table project, it took him about three months to meet with the parks department and troop leaders to obtain approval for the project.

He also held a bowling fundraiser where he collected $1,300, because every part of the project must be fundraised for. The sign for the vending machine shelter was designed and donated by NC Group Global Tooling System, a business customer of Joye’s father.

When the table project was scrapped, he only needed three weeks to gain the necessary approval to begin construction of the shelter, which took just a few hours.

Joye himself was not allowed to help build the structure, but his duty was to instruct a team of eight scouts and five adults. Prior to building, however, Joye held a bottle fundraiser to collect $128 for extra building materials and to purchase pizza and pop for his workers.

“For me to show leadership basically, that’s the whole point of the project,” Joye said. “I wasn’t actually able to help with the project; I just had to walk everybody through the steps.”

The vending machine project may have not happened, however, without the motivation Joye received from his mother, Susan. Joye felt disheartened following the picnic table project, but his mother wouldn’t let him give up on the work he still had left to become an Eagle Scout.

“He kind of got sidetracked on that old project and at times wanted to give up. I told him that he made it this far; people don’t realize the last year and what goes into it,” Susan said. “We told him what an honor it would be if he kept going. This is just a life lesson that things don’t always go right. He’s young enough that he’ll go through enough things in his life that show life is not always what we want it to be.”

Joye worked with Gina Muszynski, of the parks department, for the project. Muszynski said the parks department came up with the vending machine shelter idea while citing a need for a vending machine near the park’s ball fields.

“Our customers had asked for a vending machine closer to the field, and we were never able to because we couldn’t just put a machine out there without any coverage, and within our budget and finances it wasn’t in our budget to do something like that,” Muszynski said. “They were able to tackle a bigger project like that, so I was very happy.”

Muszynski added that the parks department has worked with several scouts on projects, but the vending machine shelter hadn’t been done before.

“We’ve offered projects from bat houses to benches in the park, to — in this case — a shelter for a vending machine. This is the first of its kind,” Muszynski said. “We’ve done all of the other two, but we’ve never done a pavilion cover for a vending machine, and he did a fine job.”

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