Seneca students form a friendship through their time as co-leaders

The two were top of Troop 47 and now co-drum leaders for Seneca’s marching band.

Seneca High School seniors Andrew Ballinger and Robbie Sunbury have grown together to develop key leadership skills that will carry on to their futures.

The two first met in fifth grade, when they joined Boy Scouts as a part of Indian Mills Troop 47. The friendship formed over time, and they eventually held positions at the top of the troop.

Within this leadership opportunity, Ballinger and Sunbury said they gained a substantial amount of organization skills, being the main sources of planning meetings and camping trips within the troop.

As experienced Scouts, they were also granted the opportunity to help younger Scouts accomplish their rank advancements, such as knot tying, first aid and community service, by ensuring there was a process laid out for them and they had the means available to complete the tasks.

Ballinger and Sunbury have both received their Eagle Scout awards, which is the highest ranking a Scout can achieve. To reach this point, they each completed a sustainable project within the community.

Ballinger took his efforts to the Dingletown Baseball and Softball Fields, part of the Indian Mills Athletic Association, where he upgraded the wooden wall used as a pitching backstop and for games such as wall ball.

According to Ballinger, the wall had become a safety hazard since it hadn’t been upgraded in more than a decade. The wood had started to chip and splinter, exposing nails and making it unfit for children to use.

The existing plywood was torn down and new wood was installed. The new wall was then painted. Sod was placed in front of the wall, creating a better space for activities. The project was completed last fall, and the community has since been welcomed to enjoy the wall.

Sunbury’s project is called “Tabernacle Little Libraries,” in which he assembled bookshelves outside of Olson Middle School and Tabernacle Elementary School, placing two libraries on the playgrounds of each school.

The shelves were coated with a sealant to ensure they don’t degrade over time. The shelves are kept stocked by the librarians at the schools, and since being implemented about a month and a half ago, Sunbury said the teachers have given positive feedback about the students’ use.

Not only have the two been at the top of Troop 47, they have also recently been assigned the positions of co-drum majors for Seneca’s Golden Eagles Marching Band.

“It was pretty exciting, I was glad it was Robbie because we knew we worked well together,” Ballinger said.

In this leadership position, the pair has gained the skills of keeping the marching band motivated before competitions and at games, and to maintain their school spirit.

“I think this has led to me being a much happier and brighter person overall,” Sunbury said. “Making people laugh and keeping people happy is a really important life skill.”

Sunbury plans to take his skills along with him to pursue a career in computer programming or electronic computer engineering.

As for Ballinger, he has been looking into joining the Air Force, and said, “Having those types of leadership skills from the band and motivating people, combined with skills that I’ve learned as a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout, I think will definitely help me in the future.”