• Adam Stecker
  • Dunwoody High School, junior
Adam Stecker
Adam Stecker

The city of Dunwoody describes little Vernon Oaks Park as “a hidden gem tucked into a tree-lined Dunwoody neighborhood.”

“Vernon Oaks features a small stream, well structure, and a few seating areas,” the city says on its webpage. “Neighborhood residents primarily use the park for casual strolls, walking their dogs, or as a place where their children can enjoy some outdoor playtime.”

Adam Stecker lives across the street from the park. He remembers watching his younger brother and sister playing in the ½-acre park when they were growing up.

“I love this place,” he said. “I love playing in the woods. It’s close to us. It’s kind of homey. The kids around here all use it. It’s like it belongs to us.”

When Adam started looking for a project to do to win his Eagle rank in Boy Scouts, he thought about the park. He decided to pull together efforts to spruce up the neighborhood park.

He drew up plans for the project and convinced city officials to chip in.

Once work started, he said, Adam found it easy to find people to help fix up Vernon Oaks Park. He recruited volunteers and worked with them to remove underbrush and rocks, and clean up the park.

“After coordination with the city of Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Department, [Adam] was able to install new timbers to line the trails and spread more than 2,400 square feet of mulch, and add a new picnic table,” the city said in a press release.

He spent up to two hours most afternoons at the school working with friends to redo the trails. For the last three weekends before the beginning of summer, Adam and his friends spent “weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. just working and finishing the park.”

“I was really glad I could fix it up,” Adam said.

Scoutmaster Jerry Travers, who heads Adam’s troop, said Adam’s project improved the park and benefited the city.

“The project helped enhance an earlier Troop 434 Eagle Scout project from the ‘90s that originally rescued the park from being lost on the Parks and Recreation maps of DeKalb County,” he said.

For his part, Adam believes that Vernon Oaks Park is getting more use since he finished repairing the trails. He sees more people walking dogs or just hanging out. “It’s nice to see people enjoying the park,” Adam said.

And he’s not necessarily done yet. If he can find the time, he hopes to plant flowers and possibly a garden in Vernon Oaks Park to give it more color. He also is finishing up the next steps in becoming an Eagle Scout.

In school, Adam’s overall favorite course has been studying broadcasting. Adam enjoys music and records the performances of other musicians and produces the recordings. He is part of the broadcast department and chorus at school.

What’s Next:

Adam hopes to continue to pursue music and is thinking about studying either the business of music or music production in college. “I am very much into music,” he said. “I want to own a record label.”

–Felipa Schmidt