Eagle Scout project benefits entire community

Becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, requires dedication and motivation. Scouts must demonstrate skills in leadership, community service and outdoor abilities. Once the tasks for the rank of Eagle Scout have been completed, a Scout becomes a member of a select group of individuals. Only about 4 percent of Boy Scouts go on to become Eagle Scouts. There are many famous Eagle Scouts, including Bill Bradley, senator from New Jersey; Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States; and Steven Spielberg.

The Scouting movement began in the early part of the 20th century. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a renowned veteran of the Boer Wars in Africa, is credited with starting the organization. During the Boer Wars, Baden-Powell had demonstrated outstanding cunning, ingenuity and leadership during Britain's struggle to gain control of parts of Southern Africa. He recounted his methods in a book titled "Aids to Scouting."

Upon returning to England, Baden-Powell discovered that the book had become quite popular. He decided to expand the teaching of Scouting skills to young boys. He organized a troop of boys and took them camping, teaching them outdoor skills and Scouting techniques. He also published "Scouting for Boys," a book detailing the skills necessary to survive outdoors. His efforts were overwhelmingly successful; Scouting spread throughout the world. Baden-Powell said, "The Scout Movement is a worldwide brotherhood."

Rob Paisley, a Woodbridge resident, has followed the path promoted by Baden-Powell. He recently completed the requirements necessary to become an Eagle Scout. Paisley designed and built five benches that have been placed in different areas of Alice Newton Park.

Paisley began his task by evaluating what other parks in the surrounding towns, like Hamden and Cheshire, had to offer. After this survey, Paisley designed the benches. He then walked the trails of Alice Newton Park with the trail master, Mike Walter, to determine where the benches should be placed. Paisley built the benches in his garage. Paisley had to obtain approval by the Woodbridge Park Association in order to install the benches. With the help of some of his fellow Scouts, Paisley placed the benches in pre-arranged areas throughout the park.

Paisley started as a Cub Scout in fourth grade. He was attracted to the organization because he loves camping. Being allowed to build fires was a draw, as well. When he turns 18 this year, he will be eligible to become an adult leader or assistant scoutmaster.

Paisley feels his years of Scouting were time well spent.

"I did things with the Scouts I never would have done otherwise."

Another young Woodbridge resident, Tanner DeLeone, has satisfied the demands of becoming an Eagle Scout. He recently undertook the job of replacing the town signpost. The signpost, required by law, is located outside of town hall for posting notices for the community.

DeLeone got the idea to work on the town signpost while working with his older brother, Cameron. Cameron had previously completed the Eagle Scout tasks by designing and landscaping the area around the new town gazebo. DeLeone said, "When I was working on my brother's project, I noticed that the town signpost was practically falling down."

After obtaining approval, DeLeone asked David Barkin, an architect in Woodbridge, to design the replacement. DeLeone, with the help of his father, built the signpost and placed it next to town hall.

Stephanie Ciarleglio, Woodbridge town clerk, was delighted by the new signboard. She is responsible for posting the various notices that need to be available to the residents. She said, "The previous signpost had been there for years and years and had fallen into disrepair. The new one is wonderful."

DeLeone's mother, Cindy, said, "Everyone rallies around the Eagle Scouts for these projects. A lot of stuff gets done that no one else would do."