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GH teen builds tennis benches for Eagle Scout project

Alexander Sinn • Aug 28, 2018 at 12:00 PM

A.J. Koster, 15, grew up playing tennis at White Pines Intermediate School.

During those years, he noticed that parents and grandparents could not always stand for the duration of the matches, and there were no benches or bleachers for them to sit and watch.

For his Eagle Scout project this summer, Koster, of Troop 165, built custom benches to make sure families don’t miss a match.

Now a Grand Haven High School sophomore, Koster is wrapping up preparations to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank within the Boy Scouts of America. He turned to family for his final project.

His father and grandfather helped him with the designs and the work. They also passed down a love of construction, Koster said.

“That helped lead me to a passion of building things,” he said. “We designed the benches from scratch.”

The project involved selecting materials, determining the dimensions to fit the pieces together and deciding the angle for the bench backs. 

White Pines Principal Mike Shelton gave the OK for the project, and the school’s parent-teacher organization provided funding for materials.

Scouting has been a passion for as long as he’s been in school, Koster said. He’s developed skills from public speaking to leading others. As a scout, he completed a backpacking trek through the Rocky Mountains, culminating in 16 miles on the final day.

“Scouting really does build the kids to be prepared for life,” said his mother, Jennifer Koster. “Those leadership opportunities have been great. Scouting is pretty unique in the way the boys are given those opportunities.”

One of the lessons Koster said he has picked up in the scouting projects is surrounding yourself with people who can help you.

“You have to stick with it, figure out ideas and have a lot of people that you trust to help you along with you,” he said.

The benches were completed in July ahead of this fall’s boys tennis season.

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