Meridian Star

March 9, 2014

Setting the benchmark

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Rebecca DeLee is not someone who lets many things stand in her way once she sets her mind to a task.

    DeLee also follows through with her promises.

    "I said I would do this and even though it wasn't for the reason I had intended, it is something I told someone I would do so I'm going through with it," said DeLee, who is a 16-year-old sophomore at West Lauderdale High School. "I don't know if that is stubborn or not. I just think you should do what you say you are going to do."

    That something is the construction of several benches at Camp Eagle Ridge outside Collinsville. DeLee, whose family moved to Collinsville from McComb two years ago, spent last summer at the camp for inner city children as a counselor. She said she noticed that Camp Eagle Ridge executive director Dan Fritts had to constantly move benches and chairs around to the different pavilions where activities were being held.

    "There just weren't enough benches and chairs and Mr. Dan spent a part of each morning moving tables, chairs, and benches from one place to another," DeLee said. "I told him I would make more benches for him."

    Camp Eagle Ridge, established in 2010 in Collinsville, is a non-profit camp for able and special needs children. The mission at Camp Eagle Ridge is to teach children of all ages that with vision, determination, persistence, and courage they can achieve the goal of obtaining a college education.

    The project was originally slated to be a Girl Scout Gold Award project. But the project was turned down by the Girl Scouts because as DeLee said, the project did not show it would provide a big enough impact to the camp to be considered for such a high award.

    "I was a little disappointed they turned it down but that didn't change the fact I was going to do this," DeLee said. "My troop will come from McComb to help me and my family will also be there so I will have plenty of help."

    Recently, members of the Collinsville Community Club presented DeLee with a check to help defray some of the cost of materials for the benches. DeLee said she was grateful for their assistance.

    Fritts called DeLee a go-getter who doesn't let anything stand in her way.

    "She is a great young lady and I had no doubt that when she said she would do this, then it would be a done deal," Fritts said. "These benches, although to some people may not sound like a big deal, will really be a big help."