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Billy Schmitt sits on an example of one of the benches he is building for St. Anne Catholic Church in Somerset for his Eagle Scout project. Schmitt is a member of Boy Scout Troop 144 and St. Anne Parish. The tables will provide seating for church and school activities that take place outdoors. Schmitt said he plans to paint the picnic tables white when they are finished.

Teen builds benches for Eagle Scout status

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Teen builds benches for Eagle Scout status
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Members of St. Anne's church in Somerset, Wis. will be able to sit down on Boy Scout Billy Schmitt's efforts to attain Eagle Scout status. Schmitt 's project is building picnic benches.

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Seventeen-year-old Billy Schmitt (Somerset) is using his Eagle Scout project to fill a need he saw at his church.

Schmitt said he noticed there was no seating available, apart from the grass, at events St. Anne's Parish and school hold outside throughout the year, from soccer games to the church festival. Schmitt, an alumnus of St. Anne's School, said he had noticed his parents sitting on the grass at such events and bringing their own chairs to youth soccer games.

Schmitt said he is building 10 picnic tables to fill the need for outdoor seating at the church.

"Being a part of the parish, I kind of wanted to just give back to it," Schmitt said.

He said building the picnic tables isn't hard. He is using metal picnic table frames for the bases because they will make the tables easier to move out of the way for mowing. Schmitt said he will use two-by-ten wooden boards to finish the tables and benches. When they are completely assembled, Schmitt said he will paint them all white.

"Weather is a factor, so when you build it you have to make sure it'll last," Schmitt said.

Schmitt said he has made an entirely-wood picnic table before, with his father, but the ones for St. Anne's will be his first solo attempt at building picnic tables. But he said the benches won't be hard to make.

"It's really just time consuming," Schmitt said, "having to build it together, drill the holes and put the bolts in."

He said it should take him one to two hours to build each picnic table.

Building the tables is one of the final steps of the process of attaining his Eagle Scout status. Schmitt said the beginning of the process started with the project idea. Then, he had to create a plan and have it approved by his scoutmaster, before he could begin working on the project.

And before he could begin putting the tables together, Schmitt had to purchase the materials. Schmitt said the fundraising he did to buy the table-building materials was much easier than he had expected.

"When I put it in the church bulletin, I was really surprised with how a lot of people donated," Schmitt said. "I've gotten the funds and more than I expected."

Schmitt, a member of Boy Scout Troop 144 in Somerset, said he is excited to be reaching this milestone.

"I've been in Scouts for a long time and getting that (Eagle status) shows that my time was well spent," Schmitt said. "It's a really big honor."

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Gretta Stark
Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
(715) 426-1048
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