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State Honoree

Toby Flint

South Dakota

Toby Flint, 18, of Brookings, S.D., a senior at Brookings High School, designed and built a picnic and fishing area at a local park. Toby had heard that local officials wanted to improve a parcel of city-owned parkland, but did not have the manpower to do so. So Toby went to check out the site. "Being that I had biked to the location and was tired, I noticed that there were no benches or tables there," he said. The lack of resting places gave him an idea.

He drew up a blueprint of what he wanted to do, and presented it to the city's parks department and to other groups in town. Next, he recruited members of his Boy Scout troop, his school's National Honor Society chapter, and kids in his church youth group to assist with the labor, and gathered the supplies needed for the job. Toby and his crew spent many weekend days marking the site, cutting trees, clearing rocks and brush, leveling the ground, and creating a fishing area next to a lake. Then they installed two picnic tables, reseeded the site, and added a trash receptacle. Later, Toby was driving by the park and saw a man with three kids fishing, while his wife was preparing a picnic lunch on one of the tables. "I really wanted to stop and tell this young family how happy I was that they had decided to use my facilities," he said.