BY KATE BUNSTER
NISKAYUNA — Ben Cazer spent the whole summer staring at the Niskayuna Town Pool.
As a lifeguard, he would see grandparents and parents with strollers, in addition to people with disabilities have difficulty getting to the kiddie pool because there was no ramp to get there.
Instead, there were concrete steps down to the deck. Though the main pool is handicapped-accessible, with two chair lifts, accessing the kiddie pool was difficult.
It was only natural that when he started thinking about what he wanted to do for his Eagle Scout project, he strived to tackle this problem.
He took his idea to Denise Murphy McGraw on the Town Board and the two decided on building a ramp to allow for easier access to the kiddie pool.
“I thought it would be a nice project to do,” said Cazer.
The scout began his project in late September, after swim season was over, and finished the week of Thanksgiving. It is now ready for the Summer 2016 season.
“The thing is magnificent,” said McGraw.
Cazer’s project is one step toward fulfilling the town’s master plan to build a new complex in small stages, similar to how the project was carried out as a collaborative effort between Cazer and the town.
Most of his time working on the project took place during the weekends, in between keeping up with schoolwork and college applications.
One of the main reasons McGraw ran for the Town Board was because of the broken diving board at the town pool a couple of summers back, and it’s still a place she holds close to her heart. So naturally, she was delighted when Cazer took on this project.
“This was the biggest Eagle Scout project anyone has ever done for the town,” she said.
“Some residents may not have anything that they interact with in the town besides our pool or parks,” she pointed out.
Cazer, who is in Boy Scout Troop 37 in Niskayuna, received help from his father, Christopher Cazer and grandfather, Donald Cazer, as well as members of Cazer’s troop and the Niskayuna Highway Department.
Cazer attributes the leadership skills required to organize the project to all his years as a Boy Scout.
“It has given me a sense of belonging,” he said. “It was always fun for me and has really helped build my leadership skills — especially with a project that takes organization and arranging like this.”
Committing to an organization such as the scouts isn’t easy, Cazer said, and he has seen many “wash out” over the years. For him, it was always something he wanted to do and stay with, regardless of how many other activities he was involved with.
Earning the Eagle rank requires a scout to obtain 21 badges, in addition to completing a community service project.
The ramp will fulfill that project requirement for Cazer.
Now that the project is completed, he can now sit down with the Eagle Board of Review to begin his promotion to Eagle Scout. Scouts officially make the grade on their 18th birthday, which is coming up in February for Cazer.
While he isn’t sure where he would like to attend college just yet, he is interested in pursuing a career in computer science.
The soon-to-be Eagle Scout lives at home with his parents, Christopher and Tracy, along with his sister Kelly and twin siblings John and Samantha.