People picnicking in Harvey County West Park on a hot afternoon this summer will have two local Boy Scouts to thank for some extra shade.
As a service project, Avery Bethards and Casey Friesen designed and built two picnic tables with roofs for West Park.
"We thought that would be a pretty good project," said 17-year-old sophomore Casey Friesen. "... I'm sure it will benefit the park."
"I just thought it would be nice to add something new over there," added Bethards, also a 17-year-old sophomore. "... I just like to help out people."
The boys are members of Troop 125, based out of Halstead. Bethards and Friesen each made a table for the project.
Friesen said he and Bethards first got the idea for the project from Harvey County East Park. Then, when Troop 125 was having a camp-out at West Park, a staff member mentioned a need for more picnic tables and places with shade. Friesen and Bethards decided to meet that need.
They created a design using a computer program called AutoCAD and collected supplies they would need for the project. Friesen said it took them about a month to put the benches together.
Bethards said when it is hot outside, he hopes people will use the tables to take a break in the shade. Even when the scouts were only halfway done with the project, they saw people already using the tables.
The troop has completed other service projects at West Park, including painting a picnic shelter and putting up bat houses. The roofed picnic tables will each have a plaque that says "Eagle project by Avery Bethards" and "Eagle project by Casey Friesen."
Friesen said working on the project not only gave them an opportunity to help the park, it gave Bethards and him a chance to practice leadership.
"You don't just do a project by yourself," Friesen said. "You have to get the whole troop and lead them. ... We had lots of fun."
West Park Supervisor Shannon Metz is excited about the new amenities in the park and said she is grateful for the scouts' hard work on the project.
"We enjoy and appreciate working with Boy Scout troops on different projects and look forward to working with them again in the future," she said.