Boy Scouts Matthew and Andrew Schramkowski have gone beyond their local Tennessee area to find Eagle Scout projects that they believe could bring lasting and meaningful change to a community.
The brothers decided to renovate a community center near their family’s ranch in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
The twin brothers could have built a bench in a park near their home in Brentwood but decided against doing so as the bench could have been abandoned or ceased to be useful in a few years. They wanted to “do something different, something that was really useful,” said Matthew Schramkowski.
Eagle Scout service projects are to benefit a religious institution, community or school through planning, development and leadership, according to the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook. Each Scout is required to carry out his own project.
Andrew Schramkowski first led a flooring project, which involved measuring the area and placing new wood planks while leading the volunteers. According to Paul Schramkowski, the father of the twins, Matthew Schramkowski then led a wall project, placing rebate wood on the already insulated concrete walls with the volunteers.
The twins had to carefully plan the supplies they needed as Albuquerque was over an hour away, according to Paul Schramkowski. They had to “be careful that [they’re] do or it is a disaster, ”said Paul Schramkowski.
The brothers originally wanted a Boy Scout troop in New Mexico to help them with the projects, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented the troop from coming. After the local newspaper, Communicator, published a story about them, the local community stepped in to help the brothers work on the center, according to Paul Schramkowski. Matthew Schramkowski continues to text one of the volunteers.
“I really liked that not all people were scouts; they were part of the community, ”said Andrew Schramkowski.
Looking back, Matthew Schramkowski considers the relationships he made with the volunteers to be one of the most meaningful things to come out of the project, saying that the “connections to the ranch community were really special.”
Andrew Schramkowski said the service work has helped him gain a better outlook on life and “it has taught me how to be a good leader and make sure you reach your goals.”
When the family returns to New Mexico in a few weeks, the family will be painting the exterior of the community center – “just for fun though,” said Paul Schramkowski.