One of Simpson Strong-Tie’s core company values is to “Give Back.” This value inspires us to support our communities and the people in them. We’ve often worked with Boy Scouts on their various outdoor projects, from building a pergola to constructing an outdoor informational kiosk. This time, we were excited to contribute to another project when Boy Scout Max Coey had the idea to build a dugout for his local baseball field.
My name is Max Coey, and I’m a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. At school, I’m part of the school concert, marching, and jazz bands. I am also a stagehand for my school’s musical, play, and other performances. Outside of school, I used to play baseball and I’m currently umpiring the Little League baseball and softball in my town and surrounding communities.
Another organization I’m actively involved in is my Boy Scout troop, Troop 5 of Maplewood. I am a leader in my troop and hold the rank of Life Scout, the penultimate rank in scouting. To earn the highest rank as an Eagle Scout, one must complete a service project that demonstrates leadership while giving back to the community. Being involved in baseball and softball as an umpire and having a sister who plays travel softball, I heard lots of comments about how other towns had much better fields than ours. This inspired me to improve my town’s fields by building dugouts for my Eagle Scout project. After talking to the town recreation department, I had the idea to build dugouts on a field known as Cameron Field, where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig once played.
After I had a loose idea of how the dugouts would be built, I reached out to the dad of one of the scouts in my troop, a local architect. He graciously created drawings for the project, which were signed and sealed by an engineer to secure building permits. The architect also recommended the use of Simpson Strong-Tie materials and pointed out the company’s charitable donations. This led me to reach out to Simpson Strong-Tie to see if they would be interested in contributing to my Boy Scout build. They were very interested in helping with this project and were happy to donate their hardware to make this dugout project possible. I listed the hardware we used below.
Simpson Strong Tie donated the following hardware to the project:
- Twelve (12) CB66 column bases
- Eight (8) ML26Z angle connecters
- Sixteen (16) HUC28-2 joist hangers
- Sixty (60) LU26 joist hangers
- Four (4) 100-piece box of #10 x 2-1/2 in. 1/4-hex drive, Strong-Drive® SD Connector Screws
- Four (4) 100-piece box of #9 x 1-1/2 in. 1/4-hex drive, Strong-Drive SD Connector Screws
Due to various scouting adventures this summer, there was only one week to get the project done. I had one dedicated workday with volunteers, during which a decent amount of work was completed, before I tested positive for COVID-19. This was a huge setback, as I had planned my whole project around this one week. My dad and I were able to get some work done during this time as he had just had COVID and felt safe being around me, but with no other volunteers we weren’t able to get as much done as we had hoped. After I had finished my quarantine, I went to summer camp for 2 weeks with my troop, although it was really disappointing not to have my project completed as I’d hoped. When I got back, I got to work organizing volunteers and completing the build despite all the challenges I had faced.
This project taught me a lot of skills, from how to overcome unforeseen challenges to how to be resilient and flexible when things don’t go your way. I learned how to work with the government and cut through red tape during the extensive building permit process. Most importantly, I learned how to take the lead of a project and see it through from start to finish. I learned how to collaborate with others and improved my communication skills. I was happy that I was able to keep to my vision of the project, while simultaneously trusting others to support me along the way. Over the course of three months of planning and one month of construction, the baseball and softball community donated over $6,000 and, along with the generous donation from Simpson Strong-Tie, made it possible to fund the build. My 28 volunteers and I spent 177 hours completing this dugout project. Which in turn will improve the baseball experience for countless kids for years to come.