Jack LaDouce, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 101 has made a generous contribution of his time and skills in the form of a bocce ball court at The Arc of Schuyler, a not for profit organization that provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
LaDouce, 17, whose aunt receives services through The Arc approached the agency in February about an Eagle Scout Service project that would allow him to have a positive impact on people with disabilities. With a major focus on health and wellness opportunities, The Arc suggested the installation of a bocce ball court, which would allow people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs to enjoy physical activity outdoors.
“I was looking to do something that involved construction and my mom was really excited that I was working with The Arc since they have done so much for my aunt,” LaDouce said.
As soon as the ground thawed, LaDouce set to work on his project – a 5’ x 20’ bocce ball court complete with an oyster shell surface and drainage system to help maintain the court. The project required LaDouce to propose a written plan for scout board approval, then to enlist the help of friends from his troop and obtain donated supplies and the services of an excavator.
In just ten days, LaDouce had the bocce ball court assembled and ready for play at The Arc’s 210 12th Street property under the shade of a tree, near a picnic table where people can enjoy their lunch and play a game of bocce.
“Construction is my hobby and I’ve done small projects, but this is one of the bigger things I’ve built. I was really happy to see it all done,” LaDouce said. “It came out just the way I wanted it to.”
Carole Sullivan, The Arc’s Assistant Director of Day Services has been LaDouce’s project liaison at The Arc. “We have been so impressed by Jack. He’s mature beyond his years, so organized, committed, and a hard worker,” Sullivan said. “We’ve been very lucky to get him and his friends and family involved with The Arc and we look forward to a continued relationship with the Boy Scouts and local youth.”
LaDouce’s Scout Leader, Dan Carpenter has been impressed by LaDouce too. “Jack has always been an exemplary scout,” Carpenter said. “He’s excelled in school, track, swimming, and now he’s following in his brother’s footsteps to Annapolis, Maryland.”
LaDouce graduates in the top 10 of his class from Elmira High School this month and will join the United States Naval Academy in July. He plans to serve as a Navy officer and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree.
Carpenter reports that LaDouce received his Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in scouting in May. With LaDouce’s encouragement, a fellow scout will continue working with The Arc to enhance the bocce court area by adding a cement pad this summer. The cement will make the court more accessible to people using wheelchairs.
“Before I met the staff and people at The Arc I didn’t know much about it other than it was a place where people like my aunt could go to work, volunteer, and take classes. My family is really thankful for all The Arc does.”
The Arc is seeking volunteer assistance to expand its outdoor recreation space. Please call 607.535.6934 if you are interested in voluneering for The Arc.