Twin Rivers Council: Zieske’s Eagle Scout project was the best

— Photo from Twin Rivers Council

Eagle Scout Derek Zieske installed computer and camera systems at the First Reformed Church of Berne.

BERNE — Despite the pandemic, the word of God reached rural church-goers because of the work of Eagle Scout Derek Zieske.
Zieske installed computer and camera systems at the First Reformed Church of Berne, which allows the church to easily broadcast services online.

His work has been named the best Eagle Scout project of 2022 by the Twin Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Zieske’s project will now be considered at the regional and national levels to be selected as the Scouts overall Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year.

The son of John and Denise Zieske, he graduated early from high school last year and is currently enrolled in a computer science program at Schenectady County Community College.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the First Reformed Church halted in-person services and began streaming Sunday morning worship online.

Even when in-person services could resume, many remote, and older parishioners preferred to participate in worship from home through their computers.

Zieske replaced the existing ad hoc practices with a permanent system involving built-in automatic tracking video cameras, new video screens, and an upgraded wireless and Bluetooth transmission system.

He determined what equipment would be needed and the cost, what the software requirements were, and the number of youth and adult volunteers needed to program and install the system.

The church provided the $1,800 to finance the project and Zieske organized the volunteers. Along with installation work, he monitored the system weekly for a month to ensure proper functioning, and conducted training for church volunteers on how to use it.

A total of 14 volunteers assisted with the project, which involved 260 hours of work.

The winner of Scouting’s Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award receives a $3,500 scholarship award.

“Derek Zieske’s project was truly innovative,” said Ethan Angell, who chairs the nominating committee, in a release announcing the award. “Derek displayed all the organizational abilities an Eagle Scout should have, as well as 21st Century skills involving computers and the internet.”

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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