By REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — William Moore had never built a structure before he started working on a new shelter at the Niskayuna dog park for his Eagle Scout project, but he knew how to figure it out.
He started at the library, where he checked out books on construction technique; then, he searched on YouTube and found videos to help him.
Once he had the basics down, he called in an expert for more help: His dad, an engineer, helped him sketch pencil drawings and choose all the right materials. He also answered the tough questions, like: “What’s the difference between these two-by-fours? They all look the same,” Moore said.
Part of any Eagle Scout project is a leadership requirement: the soon-to-be Eagle Scout must finance, plan, and execute the project, including volunteer coordination. Moore funded the new shelter through a $100 grant from Lowe’s for supplies, plus about $400 in private donations, mostly from family members.
With his cheerful disposition and trademark Boy Scout innovation, Moore figured out a way to build the shed he was so excited about for the dog park. He finally committed to a design once the supplies were purchased.
“I was eager to move on to the actual construction,” he said.
Of course, he couldn’t do it alone. Moore led four total work days at the park, mostly in good weather, although the volunteers had to deal with some wind and rain. He had about five volunteers on his slowest day and 14 on the busiest, with a team made up of family, friends and fellow Scouts. Of course, they had some furry helpers as well, although those visitors mainly checked to be sure everything smelled right.
Moore’s mom, Cynthia, took on the important role of feeding the crew during the build. She said the dogs were, unsurprisingly, curious.
“While you’re here, the dogs are using the shed with you,” she said with a laugh.
Of course, in addition to serving the community, the project was intended to help Moore grow as a person and a Scout so he can attain the highest rank, Eagle Scout.
“Trying to direct people in physical construction is really good for leadership skills,” he said.
Moore noted feedback is immediate as to whether the leader is doing a good job when working on a project like the shed.
“Either the thing looks good or it doesn’t,” he said.
The dog enclosure, in Blatnick Park behind the lower baseball field, is a favorite place for pups of all breeds to run together off their leashes, rain or shine. The shed is meant to help out the humans who have to keep an eye on their pets through sun, rain, wind, and sometimes even snow. The dog park already included one shed, but each is only big enough for a few people and would crowd in bad weather.
Moore’s addition creates new space and also faces the opposite direction, offering a different vantage point for doggie supervision, as well as a second option for hiding from driving rain or especially strong sun.
Reception for the shed has been positive so far, Moore said.
Several people from the dog park had already made a point of thanking him, and he noticed that visitors had added chairs and a bench to the structure so they could relax more easily.
“I really wanted to help people,” he said. “I’m pretty happy.”
Moore doesn’t have a dog himself, but his family owns two cats, and he hopes to add a canine to the count soon.
“My family has always had animals and I’ve just really loved them,” he said.