Spencer Orofino has left a path for Blue Oak Elementary School students and faculty to use for many years to come.
A member of Boy Scouts Troop No. 193, Spencer earned his Eagle Scout badge earlier this summer by completing a beautification project at the school, building a pathway at the north end of campus. In between the pathway is a brick wall, bushes and three picnic tables and benches.
The 2012 Ponderosa High School graduate joined the Boy Scout troop in fourth grade and prior to that was in the Cub Scouts for two years. In September he will attend the University of Oregon in Eugene, majoring in journalism with an emphasis in advertising.
The idea to build the pathway came from Kenny Moonitz, a fellow member of his troop.
“I came down here because another guy in our troop had done a project here and they had a lot of areas you could work on,” Spencer said.
Spencer spoke with Mike Guest, the elementary school’s head custodian, about his beautification project.
“He said ‘you can do what you want with it,’” Spencer said.
So Spencer rallied nine volunteers, including some from his troop. They joined Spencer and his father Chuck and started his project by ripping out wild growing shrubs.
“He (custodian) said he wanted that torn out,” Spencer said. “Other than that, he said it was all up to me.”
Spencer built a pathway using stones the size of a person’s two hands combined. It was built above the a challenging foundation — tree roots.
“We just had to raise up the foundation as a whole … we had to go around them,” Spencer said. “It was a tricky project.”
To maintain the pathway, Spencer and his volunteers installed side borders.
The pathway has gone through its share of wear and tear in recent months since it’s located in the middle of the campus, Spencer points out. The children at the elementary school have walked on the pathway’s sides, but the side borders still stand strong.
“(Some) kids walk on it and wiggle around,” Spencer said. “It does take a little bit of maintenance to keep it looking nice. But it’s better than the way I found it.”
Spencer and the volunteers built the brick wall in between the pathway and one of the picnic tables and bench and bushes.
The project was completed in eight months, Spencer said, in between the Scouts other activities, most notably studying and playing varsity Bruins football.
Local businesses donated materials and offered discounts. Chuck and Allison Orofino donated the bricks from the family’s residence. A plaque on the brick wall between the pathway and new bushes thanks people and businesses who contributed their time and effort to make the pathway possible at Blue Oak. Spencer hopes many people will take time to notice the effort made toward building the pathway.
In the eight years he was in the Scouts, Spencer said he learned many skills but the one he will carry for the rest of his life is moral integrity.
“You build character and I think that’s what it really means,” Spencer said.