BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — As with every Scout project, last week’s inaugural game of chess was a team effort.
As he maneuvered the 2-foot-tall white pawns, Waterville Mayor Tim Pedro willingly took advice from Scout Troop 101 members Corbin Fitzpatrick and Jake Metzger, co-creators of a new space at Conrad Park. While the mayor prevailed, the completion of the chess set is a win-win for everyone in the Anthony Wayne community, Pedro said.
The idea for the project started with Jake, who remembers playing chess at the former Granite City Diner at The Shops at Fallen Timbers several years ago. For his Eagle Scout project, he completed the poured concrete chess board and obtained the large plastic chess pieces last fall – in time for the deadline of getting the work done and paperwork complete by his 18th birthday.
Corbin, who turned 18 in March, complemented the chess set by building two 7-by-3-foot chests to hold the chess pieces and creating landscaped gravel areas to hold four Adirondack chairs he built for those gathering to watch matches. Jake, his dad Mike Metzger and other Scouts helped Corbin plan and execute the project – especially in teaching him how to use power tools, he said.
Last weekend, Corbin presented the mayor with a key to the chests, but keys will be available to the public inside the nearby Waterville Branch Library during its regular hours of 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Corbin joined Troop 101 in the third grade but took time off during the COVID-19 pandemic. With encouragement from Scout leader Mike Metzger, Corbin came back to the troop and started working toward his Eagle badge.
“I was way behind,” Corbin said. “I went to Camp Frontier and worked to get five of my Eagle requirements done that week. Most people usually only get about three finished. One of them was a chess merit badge.”
Camp Frontier, a weeklong camp in Pioneer, Ohio, is among Corbin’s top three favorite experiences in Scouts. He shared a story of his tentmate who left birthday cake inside the tent one evening when they left for a gathering. When Corbin returned later, he discovered a raccoon inside enjoying the cake.
“I screamed ‘racoon’ at the top of my lungs and ran away,” he admitted. “When I came back, it was gone.”
Last year, he volunteered at Camp Frontier, honing his leadership skills while helping younger Scouts earn merit badges.
His other favorite memories from Scouts include Sea Base, an excursion in the Florida Keys, where Scouts are expected to live on a deserted island without electronics.
“It was a good experience. Every kid is always on their phone. I was definitely like that, so it was a good change,” he said. “I really enjoy the outdoors.”
Corbin also participated in the Scouts’ National Youth Leadership Training, held in 2019 at Camp Miakonda. It was an opportunity to hone leadership skills that he hopes to put to good use with the Scouts or in the community someday.
A high school senior, Corbin plans to work full time and take some classes at Owens Community College or Bowling Green State University while deciding on a major – he’s considering teaching or another field related to working with children.
Jake said Scouting has taught him public speaking and leadership skills. He said he loved Sea Base but also Camp Daniel Boone and the regular treks to Camp Miakonda with other area Scouts.
A senior at Anthony Wayne High School, Jake plans to attend The University of Toledo.