By Sue Moore
Brett Manski, in the last stage of achieving his Eagle Scout status, needed to have things running smoothly. He was making sure everyone understood what needed to be done while avoiding hiccups. He wanted everyone to be happy, have a great time, but still get the job done.
He had to deal with the stress of wanting everything to be perfect while building elevated garden containers for the Lakeland church’s Creative Beginnings pre-school and day care students while trying to predict what could possibly go wrong.
Not much did go wrong on the two weeks it took to build the eight-box set of planters. His task was to oversee their planning and construction for his final Eagle Scout project. He led his team of scouts to construct the beds on wheels that can be moved to meet the needs of the students and the church.
He accomplished the project as his final project to become an Eagle Scout just a couple of months before his 18th birthday while still a junior at Vicksburg High School. It wasn’t easy to get this project complete when carrying a 3.8 GPA, playing on the varsity golf team, playing saxophone in the marching band as section leader, participating in the two high school jazz bands, the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra, musical talent with the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Sax Ensemble sponsored by the Jazz & Creative Institute in Kalamazoo.
He has participated in the Solo and Ensemble festivals representing Vicksburg High School for five years in which he has received several first-place ribbons. Brett participates in an organization at school called Aim Higher that focuses on taking the initiative to meet the needs of the community.
Besides all that, he is a lover of the outdoors, participating in rock climbing, camping, swimming and mountain biking. In addition, Manski has participated in many high adventure trips with his troop including backpacking at Pictured Rocks and the North Manitou in northern Michigan. His love of the outdoors has been passed on to younger scouts in his troop who are currently planning an adventure to Isle Royale, which Brett hopes to attend as an adult leader this summer.
“Matt Bombich, my troop leader and Duane Monroe have been a big help in finishing my requirements to become an Eagle Scout,” Manski acknowledged. “My mom also helped me along with the paperwork as I’m a bit of a procrastinator. “My dad helped me to focus on not being stressed out with the endless possibilities of what could go wrong on the construction project.”
“We did fundraising to gather the $800 that the materials cost to build the garden beds,” Manski said. “We had car washes and went door to door in the Tobey school neighborhood where I live to collect pop cans.” He got great discounts from Home Depot and Menards.
The Creative Beginnings pre-school and early childhood participants will be able to plant the garden beds and see how vegetables grow from day to day. When there is a crop to harvest, it is expected that church members will be able to help themselves on a Sunday morning. The garden beds can be moved to sunlight or shade as growing conditions demand, Manski said. There are about 30 children in the summer school classes who will benefit from this learning experience according to Cindy Palmer, who is the director at Lakeland Reformed Church’s Creative Beginnings program.
The project has extra meaning for this school. Manski is one of their alumni, having attended there since he was four years old.