Albrightsville native Nathaniel Flick and his family have been frequenting Hickory Run State Park since Flick was a toddler. So when it came time for the young man to choose his Eagle Scout project, it seemed only natural to give back to the place that had provided him with so much youthful recreation.
After consulting with the park's staff, Flick spent most of May building an amphitheater in the park's organized group tenting area. Set in a clearing yards away from Gamewire Trail, the amphitheater is complete with 15 handcrafted wooden benches and a small fire pit.
"I wanted to build a meeting area for camping groups and other people staying in the park," Flick, a member of BSA Troop 555, said. "Lots of people come through this area and I expect it to get a lot of use."
Working diligently, Flick finished the project in a little over a month, wrapping up construction June 12. However, the planning of the project stretches back much farther.
February saw Flick "really active" as he attempted to raise money for his vision. Using Joe Korbi pizza kits and candy bars, the determined scout was able to coax $438 out of his family, friends and schoolmates. The remaining costs were covered by local hardware outlets such as Country Junction and Cramer's, which donated a variety of building materials to the project.
"I'm really impressed with Nathaniel's organization and preparation," Ray Attewell, Troop 555's scoutmaster, said. "He made sure that he had adequate help and supervision to complete the building. It really shows how much preparation he put into this."
During the construction process, Flick was assisted by his troopmates, family and even some of the park's staff. Together, they overcame several obstacles, most notably the assembly troubles plaguing the amphitheater's fire pit.
Now that his work is done, Flick is eager for parkgoers to utilize Hickory Run's latest addition.
"I want people to have fun with the amphitheater and enjoy it," Flick said. "My goal was to create a comfortable meeting place where groups could enjoy their surroundings."
The park's assistant manager, Mike Dinsmore, shares Flick's enthusiasm.
"It's a beautiful project and I'm very impressed with Nathaniel's hard work and dedication," Dinsmore said. "The amphitheater improves the overall feel of the group tenting area and lends itself well to group activities."
Dinsmore predicts that visiting groups from all across the state will be attracted to the amphitheater and plans on advertising it in Hickory Run's camping brochure. He's also eager to utilize the location for his own purposes, holding educational programs for his staff there.
"This is one of the park's 'feel good' projects," he said. "It's really a win-win: It improves the area for people visiting the park and for the park management as well."
One person, however, has already reserved the amphitheater for a private event: Flick himself, who plans on hosting his Eagle Scout ceremony there in late August.
"I've worked hard on this," Flick said. "All of my time in scouts has come down to this, and it really is worth all of my effort."