by Lisa Tome
Last fall, Eagle Scout Ian Fisher and 28 volunteers spent nearly 160 hours completing a community service project - the construction of an outdoor classroom at Conowingo Elementary School.
Fisher, 18, a student at Cecil College, was showing off his project recently and found that it had been vandalized.
"It was a concern going into this that we wouldn't know who would access it. This is a little disappointing," said Fisher.
He spent 10 hours building a wooden table. The legs on the table were cut with a saw and the table displaced. There is also other damage to the project, which was funded with donations from local organizations including Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, the Conowingo Lions Club, 84 Lumber, and American Legion Posts 135 and 194.
A police report, filed by property owner Keith Williams, from whom Fisher got permission to construct the project, was filed with the Cecil Sheriff's Office April 30. Williams saw the damage April 28 when Conowingo Elementary School's Environmental Club was meeting in the area to do creek surveying. Williams steered the students clear of the area so they didn't see the damage.
"I was furious but I was stuck. I had 30 kids with me and it really ticked me off. This is a positive thing for the community and someone destroyed it," said Williams.
"This project is a great set up. One of the barriers for getting students outside, (is lack of classrooms). This gave them an amazing outdoor experience with no transportation costs," said Williams, who is Director of North Bay.
"This is a positive thing that benefits education and one idiot goes and tears it up. I hope the rest of the community rallies around to make this right and send the message that this is not okay. I am disappointed and this makes me really sad," said Williams.
Sheriff Scott Adams summed up his feelings about the vandalism in two words. "That's disgusting."
"It infuriates me on so many levels. This is disheartening for the Eagle Scout and me as well. This will be investigated," said the sheriff.
"The Boy Scouts is such a great organization. That's one of the reasons we installed the Explorer program (a spin off of scouting) here. It's all great stuff that they do. This is just senseless destruction," said Adams.
Fisher, the son of Terri and Bill Fisher of Conowingo, is the third Eagle Scout in his family.
His project was a companion to his brother, Ryan's Eagle project. Ryan Fisher rehabilitated an aging outdoor classroom at the school and built a trail. Ian's project was similar and included clearing a trail, building furniture and establishing an outdoor classroom closer to the creek which is studied by students.
Ian Fisher said it was gratifying to give back at the school which he attended from kindergarten through grade five. His mother is also a teacher there. "I wish they did stuff (outdoor classrooms) when I went here. I wish this was here when I was here," he said.