There is a Problem? There is a solution!


Mark Priddy,


Robert Nowak identified the problem. As he and his Chiles High School cross country teammates regularly ran the trails at Phipps Park he noticed that the trails were not well marked. It was confusing. He didn’t complain, but he didn’t ignore the problem either. Instead, he saw the issue as an opportunity to make some improvements and so he began putting together a plan.

Robert will be a senior at Chiles High School next near, and in addition to running on the varsity cross country team, he is also a Boy Scout. His goal was to reach the highest rank in that organization, Eagle Scout.

When Robert approached his Troop 105 Scoutmaster, Mike Nelson to discuss possible projects to achieve Eagle Scout, his Scoutmaster told Robert to do something that he was really passionate about doing. Something that had meaning in his life.

Robert decided that something was to help the runners and walkers who use Phipps Park. He contacted the city who put him in touch with Eric Mason with the parks department. The city agreed that trail markers were needed and Robert was instructed to scope out ideas for the trail loops and to determine where the trail markers should go. He identified a need for 35 signs on 17 post locations.

The city agreed to pay for the signs up front, but Robert was obligated to fundraising to pay the money back to the city which needed the funds for other park projects. Robert went to the local Home Depot and got many of the materials donated! That meant that all the money he raised would go back to the city parks department. He needed to raise over $1000 to reimburse the city.

Robert started the project last June and has put in 235 hours on the project. After he writes his report, those hours will jump up to around 250. In addition, volunteers worked 170 total hours to help him complete the project.

When Robert approached the Gulf Winds Track Club Board of Directors to ask for a donation, he had already raised $800. He respectfully asked the Board to donate $50. After Robert left the meeting, the members of the Board were so impressed with his presentation, including the photos of the trail markers, that they voted to give him the entire $250 he needed to reimburse the city.

Thank you for your community service Robert!