SOMERSET — Colin Ryder's sister used to play softball at the Ashton Field Complex in Somerset. Colin said that when he and his family went to watch her play, they would get clothes stuck in the bleachers and splinters. He said there were also other problems with the bleachers and that is why for the community service project required for him to become an Eagle Scout, he decided to refurbish the bleachers at the Ashton Field Complex.

"I thought it was time for a revamp," Ryder said.

Ryder said the frames of the bleachers were rusting and paint was chipping off, so the group of volunteers he organized to do work at the field complex on Saturday painted them. He said the boards on the bleachers were rotting, so he decided to replace them to make the bleachers safe for spectators at softball games. Bolts were taken out of the bleachers and new ones put in. New boards were cut to length to install in the bleachers. The volunteers then painted the bleachers gray.

"Painting is a good way to end the day," Ryder said.

Ryder organized a group of about 15 volunteers who mostly included members of Boy Scout Troop 21 of Somerset, as well as parents who did work on four sets of bleachers at the Ashton Field Complex.

Ryder said local businesses donated most of the materials for the project to refurbish the bleachers. He said Home Depot, Somerset Paint, Aquidneck Fasteners and Mozzone Lumber all made donations. The Somerset Highway Department also provided materials and was to come back to the Ashton Field Complex this past Monday to take away trash generated from the project. The Somerset Senior Softball League donated food for the volunteers to have breakfast and lunch while they were working on the bleachers.

Ryder said he worked with Somerset Senior Softball League President Peter Cabral to find a time when softball wasn't being played at the fields, so that work could be done on the bleachers.

Ryder is a senior at Somerset Berkley Regional High School. He was recently elected vice president of the senior class. At SBRHS, he is on the soccer team and is a member of Best Buddies, in which students with and without intellectual disabilities participate in activities together, Big Buddies, in which older students mentor younger students, and the Distributive Education Clubs of America chapter that competes in business and marketing competitions. Ryder said what he has learned in Boy Scouts has been beneficial to other parts of his life.

"Being in Boy Scouts really helped me gain leadership skills that I have today that students in group activities don't learn," Ryder said.

Ronnie Roberts, the concession stand manager at the fields complex, said it would have been expensive for the league to pay to have the work done on the bleachers. He said the Boy Scouts did a "super" job on the work. Roberts said the bleachers look a lot better after the work the Boy Scouts did. He said there are so many tournaments played at the complex when a lot of people come to watch games and nice bleachers to sit on are needed.

"Where else do you get volunteers that scrape and paint and replace planks? We're fortunate that they did it," Roberts said.

Scott Lebeau, who helps to coordinate Eagle Scout community service projects for Boy Scout Troop 21, thought the bleachers' project was a good fit for Ryder who he said started out as a Cub Scout in third grade. Lebeau said it has always been his philosophy that when kids have their hands in the work of something, they won't damage it and will discourage their friends from damaging it. That is another reason why he said Ryder's Eagle Scout Community Service project was a good project.

Eagle Scout requirements must be completed before a Boy Scout is 18 years old. Ryder said he will turn 18 in January.

"It's good to finally get it done," Ryder said of his community service project.