James Alspach (right) poses with Palo Cedro Park president Ron Marin after completion and having his projects signed off.

James Alspach Eagle Scout Projects’ Timeline:


  • Come up with project idea
  • Approach park board and show interest towards a project.
  • Finalize plans with the park board.


  • Break ground
  • Grade site
  • Places basketball pole in ground


  • Place poles for fencing in ground
  • Build curd around horseshoe pits
  • Install drains
  • Start horseshoe pits
  • Pour concrete
  • Finish horseshoe pits


  • Place rebar
  • Pour concrete for basketball court
  • nstall backboard
  • Install fence
  • Install hoop and net
  • Paint court lines
  • Install gate
  • Finish  

By Judy La Russa

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. In a quest to seek that rank, scout James Alspach tacked an ambitious project of constructing a basketball court, two sets of horseshoe pits and 415 feet of four-foot-tall fencing surrounding the court/pits that flank a pavilion built by Eagle Scout Brandon Oliphant at the Palo Cedro Community Park.

James says that his original project that began in 2015, was going to be a baseball field, but the park board said that they were not ready for that type of project. “So, I came up with the idea of a full court basketball court and bocce ball court. Then the final project was established with the horseshoe pits, basketball court and fencing,” said Alspach.

He said, “I chose that project because I wanted a challenge that would benefit the community that would last a lifetime or two. This project was a very expensive concept, with the cost around $70,000,” said James. He added, “Everyone that will go to the Palo Cedro Park and use my project will benefit in some way. My main objective was to provide a safe and fun environment for family and friends to hang out.”

James said that the money did not come from him, but by local businesses, whom he requested donations.  A beautiful metal donor recognition sign is erected next to Alspach’s project.

The scout said the hardest part about his adventure was finding the time to do the work. With school, troop outings that consist of camping at least 50 nights a year made time valuable.

James said that there were numerous people with whom he gives thanks that gave countless hours or contributed towards the project, but the people he thanks the most are his parents—James and Melody Alspach. “They stuck with me throughout the whole progress even when it was hard. I could not have done this without them,” said James.

James is a recent graduate of Foothill High School and plans on attending Shasta College next year to explore any interest for a career path. 

Besides scouting, James has a love for many other activities that include video gaming, hiking, playing the tuba, dancing, and hanging out with his family and friends.

While attending Foothill High School, James participated by dancing through “Club Cougar” last year. He eventually joined a dance team and thoroughly enjoyed it. James was asked by the “Dancing with the Stars” committee if he would be interested in participating as a dance team instructor.  James was matched up with community member Melissa Ahern that performed Saturday, June 23.

Modeled after the popular reality TV show on ABC, the Shasta County version features six community members who are matched up with experienced dancers. The six couples dance and audience members vote with their wallets. At the end of the evening, the top vote-getting couple is crowned the champion. The three-member judging panel selects the couple worthy of the “judges’ choice” award and the audience chooses the “people’s choice” award. Vote for your favorite dancing couple at www.ospshasta.org/donate. Proceeds from the event support the life changing services of One SAFE Place.


James said that this whole project became a huge learning opportunity—from simple things like putting items onto a spreadsheet to the difficulty of donation requests that he was able to master. “After I was finished, I was so relieved because this project has been with me for a while. And to say I am finished is an amazing feeling,” said James.

So don’t forget to bring your horseshoes and basketball next time you plan an outing at the Palo Cedro Community Park. The park is located one block east of Deschutes Road and Old 44 Drive on Cedro Lane in Palo Cedro.

James Alspach
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