Many — if not all — of the most recent Eagle Scouts waited until nearly the last minute to complete their mandatory projects. Henry Yoho, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to fix up his church’s basketball court.
So, roughly three years before his deadline, he checked that project off of his list.
The court at First Presbyterian Church of Plant City had fallen into disrepair, most recently serving as a makeshift parking lot for church events.
“It wasn’t in the greatest shape,” Yoho said. “The court was pretty dirty; you couldn’t do anything with it. It was just a big cement pad that we used for parking, pretty much. There were no baskets. One of them was falling off.”
At the beginning of the year, Yoho, a Plant City High School freshman, got the idea to fix it up for his Eagle Scout project. It also appealed to his personal interests as an avid basketball fan and player. With some help from his father, Rob Yoho, he began drawing up the plans and organizing a church-wide fund drive.
The goal was to refurbish the court in every way possible — within reason. Resurfacing the court was out of the question, because of high costs, so Yoho took care of everything else. Henry Yoho, his father, and the rest of Troop 5 spend about 120 man-hours May 31 fixing things up.
First, Yoho pressure-washed the entire court. That, he said, was the hardest work. The court lines also needed a fresh coat of paint, some overhanging trees were cleared out, and the fence around the court was repaired.
The biggest fixable problems, though, were those nonexistent backboards. Plastic ones just weren’t going to cut it: They break far too easily. Fortunately, Henry Yoho found a solution: Morrow Steel was willing to manufacture and donate the backboards, and volunteers from Mulberry-based Certified Industrial Maintenance installed them on their own time.
“It was very nice of both of those companies to do that,” Rob Yoho said.
That saved Henry Yoho about $1,000. The church fundraiser produced $680 for Yoho to work with, which ended up covering nearly all of the project’s costs.
Now, the court is as good as new. Henry Yoho said the church now will be able to host all kinds of events out there, which looks much more inviting than the concrete parking space that was there a month ago. And, with the most taxing requirement of his Eagle Scout application out of the way, he can rest easy knowing that he accomplished something for the community.
“I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it actually was, but it was worthwhile,” he said.
Contact Justin Kline at [email protected].