Cleanup hitter: Scout combines passions for baseball, service into single project

Eddie McClung in April 2013 (left) and June 2021.

During baseball season, Roger Williams Park practically vibrates.

The public park in Providence, R.I., draws youth baseball players from across the area for inning after inning of friendly but fierce competition.

It’s not just the kids who show up. Parents and grandparents, second cousins and great uncles surround the fields, loudly cheering for their favorite players and teams.

When the fans leave, the memories of their enthusiasm remains.

And so does all the trash.

“With all the folks in attendance, as the season progresses it can be a challenge to keep the park clean and safe for its young players,” says Sean McClung.

Sean’s son, Eddie McClung, took that personally.

“It made me feel sad to see the place dirty,” he says. “That’s my baseball home. I didn’t like it when it wasn’t kept safe and clean.”

Eddie, 13, has been playing baseball at Roger Williams Park for eight years — ever since his T-ball days. He’s a member of Washington Park Baseball, a youth league that serves families in Rhode Island.

He’s also a Star Scout from Troop 1 of Providence, part of the Narragansett Council.

After one of Eddie’s games, as he watched the league president and some coaches pick up trash, Eddie had an idea. He would recruit his fellow Scouts from Troop 1 to help pick up trash at the park. It would certainly be a convenient service project, since Troop 1 meets right outside the park.

And so on June 3, 2021, Eddie’s entire troop walked to the park and spent an hour picking up trash.

Eddie returned on his own, eventually logging five more hours of trash pickup over the course of the season.

“The things I’m learning in Scouting help me to see how things could be better in other places,” Eddie says. “That’s how I got the idea to try and help with my baseball league. To try to give back to the league after the league gave me so much over the years.”

Eddie and Troop 1 at the cleanup project in June.

Here’s the pitch

Eddie and his dad, Sean, said the idea for the project was actually sparked by a Bryan on Scouting blog post.

“Eddie and I often read your blogs and work to execute on the opportunities that you write about,” Sean says. “Your blog is very helpful.”

The post that sparked Eddie’s baseball-focused Good Turn was Michael Freeman’s overview of the Environmental Protection Agency award, which concluded in 2021. Scouts who earned the award last year can still order it from National Supply until March 31, 2022.

To earn the award, Scouts must have completed four merit badges from the prescribed categories and performed a community service project totaling at least six hours.

This project, Freeman writes, “could be anything from picking up litter to organizing a public health awareness initiative.”

Cleaning up a beloved baseball field? Yep, that’s a home run.

Turning two

Scouting and baseball don’t just coexist in Eddie’s life. They actually pair nicely together — like a pitcher and catcher in perfect harmony.

Both activities require discipline to be successful, Eddie says. Both are fun and take place outside. And both teach you how to work well with others.

“You have to work hard to achieve your goals in both baseball and in Scouting,” Eddie says.

As to how he has time for both activities, that’s something Eddie sees as an area for improvement.

“I’m working on time management skills with my dad. He helps me a lot,” Eddie says. “I used to waste a lot of time, which made it hard to do everything that I wanted to do. But now I’m getting better at time management, and it’s helping me to do more things.”

For Eddie, more free time will likely mean more time giving back to the community and sport he loves.

“A Scout should try and help,” he says. “We should always try to do a Good Turn whenever we can. If everyone tries to help their community, then together we will make our communities a better place.”

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.