Eagle Scout Kyle W and Tamara Aronson with children playing with water table in the background.

Fort Myers Eagle Scout designs, builds outdoor learning station

Students attending the Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center in Fort Myers now have a new water table that will enhance children’s learning and discovery.

For his Eagle Scout Service Project, 18-year-old Kyle Walker, a May graduate of FSW Collegiate High School and member of Troop 119 in Fort Myers, wanted to create something useful and imaginative. The water table helps children develop cognitive, social-emotional and motor skills while keeping cool.

“Most of the kids I know just did benches for their Service Project,” said Walker, who will major in civil engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “I didn’t want to just build a bench, though.”

After consulting scout leaders, Walker set out to design and construct a Sensory Development Water Table, which features five individually controlled compartments that can adapt to a variety of hands-on, developmentally appropriate learning activities. He raised more than $1,800 from businesses and community members, then spent nearly 100 manpower hours building the Water Table.

A connection with Child Care of Southwest Florida, which operates the Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center, helped bring the project to fruition.

Child Care of Southwest Florida advocates learning through play. While children play with the water table materials, they’ll also be learning about volume, water flow, basic physics and, most importantly, cooperative play, according to Children’s Center Director Tammy Aronson.

“It’s not always about learning through books,” Walker said. “Sometimes you learn in different ways.”

Volunteers and business partners for Walker’s Eagle Scout project include Shoreline Lumber, Wolverine Brass, Blue Giraffe Restaurant, NIM Research Corp., the Rogers family, Caloosa Site Development, Walker Plumbing, Brian Bauer, SanCap Home Management, Gretchen Smith, the Ardesia family, Tropical Tradesman General Contracting, the Stein family, Kelly Tyrell, the Radecki family, the Brummer family, Robert Andrews and the Spence family.