Fond memories are ones people have for a lifetime. For 17-year-old Scout Kevin Isky, he created many fond memories in his youth playing baseball at the Creek Road Masonville Carl Jansen Baseball Field.
As part of his Eagle Scout project for the Mt. Laurel Boy Scout Troop 76, Isky wanted to help other baseball players create fond memories at the field as well. So he decided to do just that by helping to restore aspects of the field that needed work, such as the dugouts, parking lot and fencing.
“As it is an older field, it needed some work done. I really wanted the guys who are younger to experience the same memories I had and thought it would be great to restore that baseball field,” Isky said.
Isky has been a part of the Scouts since he was little, starting as a Cub Scout and becoming a Boy Scout at the age of 11. As a culmination of all of his hard work, the time soon came for Isky to receive the highest ranking one can receive in Scouting as an Eagle Scout.
To earn the highest ranking of Eagle Scout, a volunteer project must be completed.
As Isky grew up playing baseball for the Mt. Laurel recreational league, starting at age 7, he knew he wanted to give back to the township in some way that included the sport he enjoyed for so many years.
“A big part of my youth was playing baseball. I had a lot of fond memories at the field,” Isky said.
At first, he proposed a project to make a sign for the Creek Road Masonville Carl Jansen Field, as it never had one before. The field is used by many Burlington County Babe Ruth League teams from surrounding towns. The township then informed him that all the parks were eventually getting new signs, but this field was in need of dire repairs before fall ball started.
Isky decided to take up the challenge to restore the field. Once Isky obtained all the necessary approvals from the baseball league and Scouting, and the project was approved by Jerry Mascia, the township’s director of municipal services, he was on his way.
He started by obtaining the supplies and materials. He set up fundraisers at Pancheros Mexican Grill of Marlton and Jersey Mike’s Subs of Moorestown as well as setting up an online funding page at GoFundMe. He also presented requests to various Home Depot and Lowes stores throughout Burlington County that donated supplies for his project. In total, the donations of supplies and funds received added to nearly $800.
Once he had the supplies, Isky looked into getting the manpower. He organized a crew of about 11 Scouts from Troop 76, mostly current or former ballplayers themselves.
The work needed was quite extensive. The two dugouts needed to be completely cleaned, sanded and repainted; the roof edge aluminum trim of each dugout, called fascia, needed redoing; the new roof edge needed soffits installed; the parking needed some cleaning up and parking guide posts repainted; and a completely new split rail fence and post along Creek Road needed to be installed.
“The dugouts were the main part. They used to be bright red, white and black. Before we painted them, they were dirty and cracked and peeling,” Isky said.
In various rotating daily shifts of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Scouts worked together to restore the dugouts, clean up the parking lot, repaint all 22 guide posts, and install the split rail fence and posts for about 65 feet. Their hard work lasted about four days during the week of Aug. 18.
“I definitely felt I had succeeded in my goal to restore the field and make it look better. I was also relieved and elated that other ball players who attended would be able to see it in the same light I saw it so many years ago,” Isky said.
All of this was at no cost to the township or taxpayers. According to Isky’s dad Ken, it was reviewed as a very professional job.
For all of his hard work on the project, as well as his Eagle Scout attainment, Isky was to receive a proclamation from the township on Monday night, Oct. 5.
“I feel honored. It is a really big deal to me because I’m just one person and accomplished a big task. It feels great. It is really cool my town noticed what I did and commended me for it,” Isky said.
Isky will have his official ceremony for his accomplishments as an Eagle Scout within the next few months, though a date is not yet determined. He plans to continue with the Scouts until the cut off, which is 18 years old. He plans to progress with Scouting by being a mentor as a Junior Scout Master.
“I thank Scouting for giving me all of the opportunities and experiences I’ve had in the past 12 years. Without Scouting, I probably would not have the same experiences as someone who didn’t participate. I think it is great for all boys and young men to participate in and a great group to learn from,” Isky said.