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Boy Scout Wants to Make Covington Ballpark Better

Michael A. Ellis Field sits outside John G. Carlisle Elementary School in downtown Covington, weathered by time.

The fields needs some minor detailing, like landscaping and weeding, and also some much more expensive attention, like new dugouts, a straightened fence, improved bleachers, a windscreen, and a scoreboard.

Local Boy Scout Ben Bonfilio would also like to see a sign for the field, and a plaque honoring its namesake, a former principal at the school.

"I played baseball since I was 5, and so it brings my two loves together: baseball and Boy Scouts," said Bonfilio, 15. The Conner High School freshman is working towards becoming an Eagle Scout, and identified the ball field as his community service project. He hopes to raise $10,000 from the community towards his effort.

"If you just look at it, it looks like a humongous mess," he said. "The things I will be adding to it will make it look way better and help the community of Covington look nicer."

Bonfilio's young face is a familiar one to downtown workers who dine at Frank's Old Town Cafe, the Bonfilio family's restaurant on Pike Street. For this project, other community members are chipping in. The Kentucky Innovation Center assisted Bonfilio with a PowerPoint presentation detailing his plans and the Cennter for Great Neighborhoods set up the account through which the teen will raise his funds.

The fundraising, which started last week, will run through the last week of May, he said.

When the work begins, he'll be assisted by his fellow scouts from Troop 727 in Burlington. 

Bonfilio is a hard-working young man who talked to The River City News while he was on spring break last week. He said he would have rather have been in school than on break, and being a part of the scouts is something he enjoys very much. "We do a lot of camp-outs and that is very enjoyable. You can make a lot of friends," he said. "We all work together in harmony. It can be stressful, but lots of fun."

His fellow scouts look to Bonfilio as a leader and he serves his troop as a quartermaster. "We do lots of activities and we work together to come up with activities to do with the troop and we come up with ways to make our troop better," he said.

As summer vacation nears, Bonfilio plans to work on the ball field and "mostly Boy Scouts stuff". He will work at Boy Scout leadership events and will visit the Northern Tier Training Center in Minnesota.

Bonfilio was assisted by another enthusiast of repairing Michael A. Ellis Field, Cutman Barber Shop owner Jerod Theobald, in creating his promotional video used on the fundraising site Generosity. Bonfilio said that Theobald, a junior varsity baseball coach at Holmes High School, told him, "I know a great field."

Through his efforts, Bonfilio hopes that others will soon "know a great field".

To contribute to his project, click here.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Ben Bonfilio stands at John G. Carlisle School (provided)