During the baseball season, Roger Williams Park practically vibrates.
The public park in Providence, RI, draws youth baseball players from all over the area for inning after inning of friendly but fierce competition.
It’s not just the kids who show up. Parents and grandparents, great-nephews and great-uncles surround the fields, cheering loudly for their favorite players and teams.
When the fans leave, the memories of their enthusiasm remain.
And that also applies to all waste.
“With all the people in attendance, it can be a challenge as the season progresses to keep the park clean and safe for the young players,” said Sean McClung.
Sean’s son, Eddie McClung, took that personally.
“It made me sad to see the place dirty,” he says. “That’s my baseball house. I didn’t like it if it wasn’t kept safe and clean.”
Eddie, 13, has been playing baseball at Roger Williams Park for eight years — since his T-ball days. He is a member of Washington Park Baseball, a youth league that serves families in Rhode Island.
He is also a Star Scout of Troop 1 of Providence, part of the Narragansett Council.
After one of Eddie’s games, while watching the league president and some of the coaches clean up trash, Eddie got an idea. He would recruit his fellow Troop 1 scouts to help clean up trash in the park. It would certainly be a useful service project, as Troop 1 converges just outside the park.
And so on June 3, 2021, Eddie’s entire troop walked to the park and spent an hour cleaning up trash.
Eddie returned on his own and ended up keeping up with five more hours of garbage collection over the course of the season.
“The things I’m learning in Scouting help me see how I can do better in other places,” Eddie says. “That’s how I got the idea to try to help with my baseball league. To try to give back to the league after the league has given me so much over the years.”
Here’s the pitch
Eddie and his father, Sean, said the idea for the project was actually sparked by a Bryan on Scouting blog post.
“Eddie and I often read your blogs and work to take advantage of the opportunities you write about,” says Sean. “Your blog is very helpful.”
The post that led to Eddie’s baseball-focused Good Turn was Michael Freeman’s overview of the Environmental Protection Agency award, available through the end of 2021.
To earn the award, Scouts must complete four merit badges from the prescribed categories and complete a community service project totaling at least six hours.
This project, Freeman writes, “could be anything from cleaning up litter to organizing a public health awareness initiative.”
Cleaning up a beloved baseball field? Yes, that’s a home run.
Scouting and baseball don’t just go together in Eddie’s life. They actually fit together nicely – like a pitcher and catcher in perfect harmony.
Both activities require discipline to be successful, Eddie says. Both are fun and take place outside. And both teach you how to work well with others.
“You have to work hard to achieve your goals in both baseball and scouting,” Eddie says.
How he has time for both activities is something Eddie sees as an area for improvement.
“I work with my father on time management skills. He helps me a lot,” Eddie says. “I used to waste a lot of time, which made it difficult to do everything I wanted to do. But now I’m getting better at time management and it helps me do more things.”
For Eddie, more free time probably means giving back more time to the community and the sport he loves.
“A Scout should try to help,” he says. “We should always try to get a good turn when we can. If everyone tries to help their community, together we will make our community a better place.”