For many Little League® graduates, giving back to their local teams usually takes the form of coaching or serving as a league administrator, but for one Mullica Hill Boy Scout, giving back to his Little League program meant something a little different.
A former member of the Harrison Township Little League program since Tee Ball, Clearview High School senior, Peter Gioia, was on track to become an Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 26 and needed to come up with a plan for his Eagle Scout Service Project. With a passion for baseball, engineering, computer-aided drawing, and building, Mr. Gioia decided to take on the project of building a set of dugouts for a field at Ella Harris Park, home of the Harrison Township Little League Senior League Division.
“I had the idea in the back of my mind for a few years prior,” said Mr. Gioia. “I had played baseball for many years and knew that something over our heads would make playing there exceptionally enjoyable. The thought of making dugouts was daunting, but I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it, especially with the support that I had.”
With approval from Harrison Township, his local Boy Scout Council, and members of the Harrison Township Little League, Peter reached out to members of his troop and local community to get started on the project.
“The most difficult part of the project was obtaining the necessary permissions, permits, and funding for the materials,” said Mr. Gioia. “Determining who I needed to talk to, get approval from, coordinate with, and communicate with in Harrison Township was challenging while balancing the heavy work load of school, playing sports, and multiple technology clubs after school. Once I got the final go ahead, a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was thrilled to begin construction.”
Surrounded by support of his fellow Boy Scouts, the local community, and his parents, Mr. Gioia got to work on the arduous process of building the dugouts, and after over 500 volunteer hours of work over a two-month period, the Senior League Division officially had a dugout they could call their own.
“I think the league now has something they can look to for inspiration for the future,” Peter shared. “I think it gives the kids that play in the Senior League Division something more. Something they can enjoy. Something they will remember. Something they are proud to call their home field.”
Since completing the task in late September, Peter Gioia officially earned the rank of Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 26 on October 6, 2016, a feat that an average of only five percent of Boy Scouts earn each year. Mr. Gioia continues to remain involved with the Little League program where he has served as an umpire in the Minor Division.
“Little League was truly a fun and enjoyable part of my life,” added Peter. “Now, being an umpire in itself is nostalgic because I can remember when I was their age, looking up to the umpires that are my age now.”