In August of 2011, 42 benches that were the focus of Ryker Sharp's Eagle Scout project were taken to the Phantom Lake YMCA. The project was dedicated to his aunt, Gretchen Degarmo, who had died from Hodgkin's disease at the age of 36.
Following in his footsteps, and honoring another family member in the process, Muskego High School sophomore Jarod Sharp has recently completed his project for consideration as an Eagle Scout.
Jarod's grandfather Bruce Peterson, who had mentored Ryker, passed away in the summer of 2011, and a plaque bearing his name was on the oversized chair that will serve as a centerpiece for photos.
The adirondack-style chair is similar to one Jarod saw at a camp in Lincoln, NE, and the biggest challenge in building the approximately 1,000-pound structure was creating the design.
"We started by buiding a model, which was scaled one inch to the foot, and I worked with my grandfather in Colorado to get that done," Jarod explained.
Even as a scale model, the chair stood at about a foot tall.
"The plans we got on the chair even state 'for qualified carpenters as an aid,' so it was a challenge as the person in charge of creating the design is 15 years old," said Jarod's mom Lisa.
Working over the summer with his grandfather Bill Sharp, also an Eagle Scout in his day, Jarod said it was nice to involve him, and that Bill was eager to help out.
A chance meeting with woodworker Jim Dignin at the St. Clare Street Fair in Wind Lake in September helped put the wheels in motion to cut and assemble the oversized chair at Dignin's home.
The project so far has involved 43 volunteers and 297 man hours to complete; the building process took six weeks in Dignin's driveway, and a flatbed tow truck was called in to move the giant chair in its finished form.
"We got a lot of looks on the way over to the camp," Jarod said. "You could see people point at the chair as we drove down the freeway."
The chair now rests in the middle of the camp and will serve as a 'photo op' spot for campers. However, the paperwork to qualify Jarod as an Eagle Scout is still ongoing, and Lisa said it will likely be another six months before the process is completed.
Jarod takes a little pride in having a finished piece that's larger than his older brother's project, but also said the experience "helped me to gain experience in how to lead and guide people to get a job done."