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Eagle Scout spruces up Camp Rainbow

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Matthew Prawel stands by the new sign he had erected for Camp Rainbow on Townline Road in Ridgeway. He also sanded and repainted the gates in back.

RIDGEWAY – Matthew Prawel intended to put up a new sign for Camp Rainbow. The project would be the finishing touch for him to attain Eagle Scout.

When Prawel started work on the sign at the camp, which serves children with and without disabilities, he saw a lot of other needs at the grounds. About a dozen picnic tables seemed rundown and in need of repair. The sandbox was well past its prime, and the front gates were worn.

Prawel assembled a team of about eight friends and other Scouts and they took the picnic tables apart, giving them new bolts, nuts and screws, as well as fresh paint.

The front gates were sanded and repainted. They dug out the sand box, removing rotted wood and put in a new one that’s a little bigger.

He teamed with Greg Stanton, a sign-maker from Medina, to install the new sign. On Friday, The Arc of Orleans and other community members praised Prawel for a job well done.

Matthew Prawel stands under the pavilion with his grandfather Russ Martino on Friday, when The Arc of Orleans and several community members joined for a celebration of Prawel’s Eagle Scout project. He rebuilt many of the picnic tables under the pavilion.

“This is like a little piece of Heaven in Orleans County,” State Sen. George Maziarz said about Camp Rainbow.

Maziarz, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and County Legislator Lynne Johnson commended Prawel for the work, and presented him with government citations.

Prawel, 17, said he was grateful for the chance to help The Arc. His grandparents, Russ and Pat Martino, have been agency supporters. Mrs. Martino is a retired special education teacher at Medina.

“This wasn’t just for my Eagle project,” Prawel said. “It was about helping a great organization.”

The camp started in 1970. It is the oldest program for The Arc. The site on Townline (follow Knowlesville Road going north) has become popular not only for its five-week summer camp season, but also for graduation parties, wedding receptions and reunions.

This past summer, the town of Yates had its youth swimming program at Camp Rainbow for the first time. The Lyndonville Area Foundation paid for the program.

State Sen. George Maziarz was among the well-wishers who congratulated Prawel for completing the project.

Vickie Randall, the recreation manager for The Arc, said the camp serves about 100 children over the summer. She and other Arc officials meet with Scouts to help identify projects to improve the camp. Ben Kirby, a Scout from Albion, is also doing his Eagle project at Camp Rainbow, working on the teeter-totters and a storage building.

Prawel spent about $2,000 for the camp project, using community donations and contributions from his family. He has been active in Scouts for about a decade.

“Scouts has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “It’s given me a chance to see things and have so many experiences.”

He is currently senior patrol leader for Troop 35, and works with the younger Scouts to earn merit badges. He plans to attend Syracuse University to major in forensic science. He hopes to play in the university’s marching band.