Fixing up picnic tables

Mark Streck­er and his team fixed or built 59 pic­nic tables at the park. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

Mark Streck­er re­calls be­ing on a camp­ing trip at Lor­imer Park a couple of years ago when he and fel­low mem­bers of Boy Scout Troop 290 ordered pizza.

“We came down from our camp­site when the pizza was de­livered and saw the tables were covered in mud and wer­en’t cleaned off, and parts were broken off,” he said.

The camp­ing trip took place in the af­ter­math of Trop­ic­al Storms Irene and Lee, which hit in the late sum­mer of 2011.

Mark was con­sid­er­ing ideas for his Eagle Scout pro­ject, and figured park im­prove­ments would be ap­pre­ci­ated.

“The park lost a bunch of tables dur­ing the storm. They needed more for the sea­son, when people pic­nic in the spring,” he said.

Mark com­pleted the bulk of his pro­ject by March 2012. He cleaned, re­paired and painted 56 tables and built three from scratch, with plenty of help from his dad, George, the Troop 290 com­mit­tee chair­man, and dozens of fel­low Scouts.

“The whole troop helped,” he said. “We painted all of the benches and re­placed boards if they were loose. It took a lot of wood and bolts and lots of time.”

To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Mark needed to re­ceive more mer­it badges and pass his board of re­view in Decem­ber.

On April 6, he of­fi­cially be­came an Eagle Scout dur­ing a court of hon­or at St. Cecil­ia Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Church in Fox Chase, where Troop 290 is based. He’s the 71st Troop 290 Eagle Scout since 1949.

“I stuck with it, had fun and ac­com­plished something not every­one does,” he said.

Mark, 16, gradu­ated from St. Cecil­ia and is now a ju­ni­or at Bish­op McDe­vitt High School. The son of George and Tina Streck­er, he lives in Rockledge. His two older broth­ers are also Eagle Scouts.

Old­est broth­er George’s pro­ject was to ren­ov­ate the lib­rary at St. Cecil­ia. His oth­er broth­er, Chris, col­lec­ted chil­dren’s books for dis­tri­bu­tion to young hos­pit­al pa­tients.

Mark has been a mem­ber of Troop 290 since 2002, when he joined as a Ti­ger Cub Scout, but has been go­ing on camp­ing and field trips with his dad and broth­ers since 1999. The camp­ing trips have been his fa­vor­ite ex­per­i­ences over the years.

Along the way, he ad­vanced in rank, earned 30 mer­it badges, won a bunch of spe­cial awards, as­sumed po­s­i­tions of re­spons­ib­il­ity and dis­played over­all scout spir­it.

Mark has gone on hikes and vo­lun­teered at a sum­mer Cub Scout pro­gram at Lor­imer Park, a 230-acre pub­lic park in Hunt­ing­don Val­ley that bor­ders Fox Chase Farm and is con­nec­ted to Pennypack Park in Phil­adelphia.

Lor­imer Park of­fi­cials sup­plied the wood for the pro­ject. Each of the three new benches in­cludes a small met­al plaque that reads, “Eagle Pro­ject. Mark Streck­er. BSA Troop 290. March 2012.”

Tina Streck­er, say­ing she is “very proud of all my boys,” was in charge of provid­ing food and drinks for the Scouts as they worked on the pro­ject.

Over the years, she’s made sure her sons’ patches have been prop­erly sewn on their uni­forms and that they have enough clean clothes for camp­ing trips.

Mom Streck­er thinks Mark did good work.

“It’s a great pro­ject. It’s good for the com­munity and will be­ne­fit a lot of people,” she said.

An A-B stu­dent at McDe­vitt, Mark is in the first year of a two-year pro­gram at the East­ern Cen­ter for Arts and Tech­no­logy in Wil­low Grove. He hopes even­tu­ally to en­roll in a trade school to be­come an elec­tri­cian.

Mark looks for­ward to re­main­ing a big part of Troop 290 and en­cour­ages young boys to join the Scouts.  

“Try it,” he said. “You have fun, get badges and be­come self de­pend­ent. You can be­come an Eagle Scout and at 18 be­come an adult lead­er and help out young­er scouts.” ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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