Thank you for your support of the KAAP Healing Garden, the Eagle Project by Bennett. Following is an article that Bennett drafted for Kingman Aid to Abused People to use in its outreach, which we thought might be of interest to you.
KAAP Healing Garden: Journey to Eagle
Bennett Harnisch, Troop 607 Eagle Scout, Phoenix, Arizona
As a Phoenix Boy Scout, it may come as a surprise for many that I chose to do my Eagle Project in Kingman. To me, it seemed like a no-brainer, because I had been visiting Kingman all my life to see the family I had there, and the town has come to occupy a special place in my heart. When I learned through my grandmother, Sherrol Pitts, of the desire for a commemorative project to be constructed on the property of the Kingman Aid to Abused People (KAAP), which was at the site formerly known as Sarah’s House, I knew what I wanted to accomplish as my Eagle project.
The side lot of the KAAP building was an excellent blank canvas, and it was fun coming up with an interesting and useful occupation for the space. Through what I learned of the organization, and the various design constraints, I came to settle on a healing garden center-pieced around a rock fountain. The next step was making a presentation to the KMP Board members, proposing the project to be used to honor the story of all child victims of abuse, and specifically to include the story Sarah (which gave rise to Sarah’s House). The KAAP Board was very enthusiastic in their approval of the project and its collaboration as an Eagle project.
The healing garden design included a path leading to a circular paved area, two wooden benches for seating, a fountain in the center, and the planting of an additional tree for shade and comfort. Some very generous monetary donations from friends and family, and my brick engravings fundraiser, supported by donors from Kingman, Phoenix, and all across the United States, made it possible to begin work on the project as soon after the plan was approved by the Four Peaks District, Grand Canyon Council, of Boy Scouts of America.
Work on the benches began first, which were built from scratch and assembled in Phoenix using volunteers from my Troop. By far the hardest part of the project was preparing the site at KAAP for the final construction weekend. Some really massive work had to be done, including excavating for the plumbing, electrical, and fountain basin. My labor force for this undertaking: just me and my Scoutmaster dad (Paul Harnisch). It took us several days of hard work over multiple trips to Kingman, but in the end we got it done just in time, in no small part due to the generous donation of labor, materials, and/or discounts on materials from several Kingman businesses, including Levi Pitts, ABC Supply Co., Inc., Desert Construction, Inc., Devault Electric, Home Depot, Innovative Stoneworks & Landscaping LLC, Kingman True Value Home Center, and Star Nursery-Arizona, Inc.
When the final construction day arrived, over a dozen Troop 607 Scouts and over a half dozen Troop 607 adult Scouters travelled all the way up to Kingman for a very busy work weekend, camping overnight at the BSA Camp Levi Levi in the Hualapai Mountains. As the Eagle candidate, it was my responsibility to direct the project weekend, which included installing the benches with cement footers, framing the walkway, patterning the circular bricks, placing and levelling the bricks for the walkway and circular path, installing the pump for the fountain, custom cutting the metal grating for the fountain drainage, and building the rock fountain. The scouting work force was at it until sundown, returning the next day to finish up the site clean-up and creating the rock fountain. We were joined in the final hours of the second day by two Kingman area Boy Scouts who helped provide extra hands needed. Final installation of the fountain centerpiece and placing the engraved bricks and memorial plaque were done a few weeks later. The engraved bricks include a variety of messages, from those of remembrance, support for the Eagle project, and hope and inspiration for the healing garden.
The helpfulness and generosity of many Kingman businesses and donors were important to making the project possible, and in the end it turned out better than I could have imagined. The healing garden will be there for years to come, to be used by visitors to KAAP, community members and victims alike, and the scale and execution of the project allowed me to pass my Eagle Board of Review with flying colors and to become an Eagle Scout.
It was my pleasure to be able to give back to the community of Kingman, and specifically to an organization that accomplishes such important work.