Scout builds rabbit barn at Fairgrounds for Eagle project

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 April 2022 at 4:11 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Michael Clark saws a board under the watchful eye of his father, Jason Clark, on Saturday morning. Jason and other helpers, including a crane operator, an electrician and several other workers were recruited by Michael to help him complete his Eagle Scout project.

KNOWLESVILLE – Michael Clark, 17, has had two favorite activities since he was a small boy – Scouting and 4-H.

Michael, a son of Jason and Christina Clark of Kendall and a senior at Kendall High School, started as a Cub Scout at the age of 5 and joined 4-H when he was 7. So when it was time to work on a project for his Eagle Scout badge, Michael knew just what he wanted to do – build a 24’ by 40’ pavilion next to the rabbit and poultry barn.

Michael Clark poses on a ladder leading up to the roof of the pavilion family and friends helped him build on Saturday at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. A member of Troop 94 in Kendall, Michael’s project will fulfill his requirements to become an Eagle Scout. The project will serve two of his favorite activities – Scouting and 4-H.

Last fall he attended a meeting at the fairgrounds and presented his idea to the property committee and fair board, said Robert Batt, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

“Michael used to show rabbits in the tent we had to put up every year,” Batt said. “This pavilion will save us the time and trouble of putting up a tent, and it won’t blow away. The tent was never a good thing.”

Batt said about 50 exhibitors are involved in the pavilion, which is used for rabbits and poultry, so this permanent structure will be a great addition to the fairgrounds for years to come.

Michael then had to raise the money for materials. Initially, the estimate was $10,000, but with increasing prices, it was closer to $12,000. In the end, with Stockham Lumber in Holley giving him materials at cost, donation of the 6 x 6s and Keeler Construction donating the stone, his final cost was back to $10,000. He is currently about $3,000 short, which will pay for the metal roof.

“This was a difficult time to raise $11,000, with rising costs and Covid,” Jason Clark said.

On Saturday morning, Michael’s dad and other helpers dug the holes for the poles and completed building the frame and trusses. One volunteer was Mike Markel, who works in construction and had his boys in Scouts.

Michael’s project will not only fulfill his Eagle Scout requirements, but will give back to his 4-H family, he said.

His goal was to have the pavilion completed by the beginning of June, but they got it nearly completed on Saturday and planned to return to finish it up Sunday, except for the tin roof, which will be done professionally.