Scout wings his way to Eagle with cleanup effort

NEIGHBORS

April 30, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Eagle Scout spruces up outdoor classroom

AS A PUPIL at Arundel Middle School, Brian Bartimo preferred the school's outdoor classroom, where classes could learn in an open area, to a normal room in a school building. But over the years, vandals had defaced the area with graffiti and debris, so that it was no longer a welcoming site for classes.

Now, thanks to Bartimo and Gambrills Boy Scout Troop 119, the area has been spruced up - and Bartimo has become an Eagle Scout.

Bartimo takes satisfaction in knowing he has helped his community.

"Kids can go out there and have class in a different environment," he says. "Some of the English classes go out there and read."

Bartimo began his Scouting career eight years ago as a Webelo, the final rank of Cub Scouts. Moving on to the Boy Scout troop, he was active in a variety of leadership roles, serving as librarian, quartermaster, patrol leader and senior patrol leader. He said he has enjoyed making friends, attending summer camps and, especially, participating in the troop's annual 50-mile hikes in such locations as Tennessee, Vermont and the Shenandoah Valley.

When Brian was considering an Eagle Scout project, the outdoor classroom space immediately came to mind. He wanted to clear the space and make it a true outdoor classroom again. Arundel Middle School Principal Paul Strickler thought this was a great idea and gave his approval to the project.

After months of planning and organizing, Brian, now an 18- year-old senior at Arundel High, oversaw the renovation of the outdoor classroom area. He recruited an energetic work crew from his Scout troop.

They removed the graffiti. They cleared debris from the seating area and from Towser's Branch, a stream running through the site. They reinforced the stairs leading to the area, and they replaced the benches where pupils sit.

In recognition of his work to renovate this local resource, Brian was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in a ceremony Saturday at Waugh Chapel Village Community Center. Nearly 100 people gathered to honor his achievement. Steven Bartimo, Brian's older brother, who also is an Eagle Scout, introduced Brian to the assembly. Steven presented him with the Eagle Scout Charge, welcoming him into the elite Scout brotherhood and challenging him to continue upholding its ideals.

Having reached the pinnacle of Scouting, Brian isn't ready to "retire." He now serves as an adult leader, where he has been instrumental in organizing Troop 119's Venture Crew, a group of older Scouts interested in advanced outdoor expeditions.

He plans to attend Anne Arundel Community College in the fall, where he will enroll in the culinary program.

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