Scout gives disc golfers a break | News, Sports, Jobs

POLAND – Before the end of the month, scout Gabe Dearing, 15, will complete his Eagle Scout project by installing benches on the disc golf course at Mill Creek MetroParks in Canfield.

Gabe, the son of Kathleen and Albin Dearing from Poland, is a sophomore at Poland Seminary High School.

His project lasts five months and has many stages.

“Up until now, he had to create a construction manual, a material bill of materials, build a prototype and practice installing the prototype,” Gabe’s father said. “At present, he has completed the prototype, practical installation and construction manual. On August 6, he completed the construction of the (five) benches needed for the project.

Five scouts and three adults participated in the construction of the benches. Using EDGE (educate, demonstrate, guide and activate), Gabe was able to lead the team through the build process. He first educated them on safety and construction practices, then demonstrated and guided them through the assembly of the bench. This allowed the team to build the rest of the benches themselves.

Gabe said he has invested time in his project and more to come when the benches are installed.

“There are currently around 30 hours of work in the project between building the prototype, purchasing and preparing materials, assembling day one, and painting and staining,” Gabe said. “Saturday’s installation will add approximately 18 additional hours of work to the project.”

He had to balance his schedule.

“I took advantage of the weekends when I had nothing to work on the design and the project plan,” he said. “Once Eagle’s proposal was complete, I was able to work multiple time slots to complete all of the prep. Going to Scout summer camp in July allowed me to take a break from the project, but I knew that as soon as i got home i had to make some progress before the football season started and the weather got bad.

As for what Gabe enjoyed about the project, he said, “Leading the scouts in building the benches. I had a solid plan, so I was able to enjoy the time and have fun with it.

Gabe’s brother, Noah, 19, installed fishing line receptacles in the fishing pond at MetroParks Farm three years ago. Their father said the park offered many opportunities and the Dearing family members were heavy users of the park.

“Gabe wanted to do a project that would benefit an outdoor activity for the park,” Albin Dearing said. “His mother is a big user of the park, especially with her friends who are part of the Steel Valley Triathalon Club, and they often cycle and run through the park system. As a result, Gabe reached out to Nick Derico, the natural resources manager at Mill Creek Park who had worked with Noah on his project in 2020.”

He said Derico came up with several project ideas, but Gabe preferred the bench project because it gave him multiple opportunities to show leadership during the planning, construction and installation phases.

Gabe is a member of Troop 9002 based at the United Methodist Church in Poland. He played high school football on the junior varsity team.

He has amassed 21 merit badges, including 12 Eagle merit badges which are required for an Eagle award. Once he has completed 31 merit badges, he will be eligible for a bronze and gold award in addition to his Eagle award. Awards are issued upon completion of a specific number of merit badges.


Work on Gabe’s project began in April. It has been approved for the project by the BSA Great Trail Council. He had to work on a design that the park hoped would give disc golfers a place to rest their bags and discs on possibly wet ground.

Derico said the MetroParks farm disc golf course is becoming popular. He said its use is seasonal and weather dependent, but is used daily when in season.

“It’s very welcome to have permanent benches along the disc golf course,” he said. “This project was identified several years ago, and we are delighted to finally see the benches installed. Adding these benches throughout the disc golf course will give players a place to rest between holes, watch friends or even just a dry place to set up their gear.

Derico said MetroParks normally works with one to three scouts a year vying for their Eagle award. Once the benches are installed, the project will be complete and Gabe can plan an Eagle Award Court of Honor in November.

Gabe plans to attend Ohio State University, but hasn’t decided on a major yet.

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