Ben Ryder, 14, is one step closer to becoming an Eagle Scout. The Marathon High School freshman revealed his community service project to a crowd of about 60 last week on Key Colony Beach — a brand new flagpole at the top of the Sadowski Causeway.

“I spent some time brainstorming a whole bunch of ides for my Eagle Scout project,” Ryder said. “And I noticed there was no flag pole on Key Colony Beach. There’s a flagpole at city hall, at the park … everywhere but the entrance of Key Colony. The city has done a lot for me and my family, and I thought it would be right if the project would give back to the community.”

The project took hundreds of hours to plan and execute. He had to have the approval of Boy Scout officials, then set about coordinating the permits and the contractors.

City Manager Mike Puto is also the Chairman of the Eagle Scout Review Board.

“This ranks as one of the top projects I’ve ever seen,” Puto said, “and he’s only 14, he’s a youngster.”

Key Colony Beach Mayor Geraldine Zahn said, “Ben Ryder’s planning and hard work to accomplish this project is a true gift to all of us. And we will always think of him and his troops when we see the flag waving in the breeze.”

Ryder also organized two car washes and made a speech to the Key Colony Beach Fishing and Boat Club where members passed a hat to help him raise the necessary funds.

The total cost of the project was $5,000, but Ryder was able to convince many tradesmen to donate labor and materials.

“I collected $2,900 in cash and had about $200 left over at the end,” he said.

Ryder said the most difficult part of the project was managing the logistics. (“Finding available dates was incredibly difficult. The troop schedule and my schedule was very unforgiving.”) The most rewarding part, he said, was the big reveal with so many members of the community present.

Of course, the project would not have been possible without the support of many. Ryder credits his parents — Jeff and Leslie Ryder — for being very supportive, as well as his Scout Master Mike Roberts.

In addition to being an active Boy Scout, Ryder is also on the tennis and swimming teams, is an avid fisherman and spearfisherman, and boasts an unweighted 4.0 GPA. His plans for world domination start with a degree in industrial engineering from MIT and then becoming a manufacturing “problem solver.” Go Ben!

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