Sean Patrick Milligan, a junior at North Medford High School, chose St. Rita Retreat Center as the beneficiary of his Eagle Scout Project. The teen rebuilt 17 benches, which had fallen into disrepair, for the center. He is pictured here with Fr. Stephen Fister, director of St. Rita’s. (Courtesy Our Lady of the Mountain Parish)
Sean Patrick Milligan, a junior at North Medford High School, chose St. Rita Retreat Center as the beneficiary of his Eagle Scout Project. The teen rebuilt 17 benches, which had fallen into disrepair, for the center. He is pictured here with Fr. Stephen Fister, director of St. Rita’s. (Courtesy Our Lady of the Mountain Parish)
ASHLAND — It was after his mother attended a retreat at St. Rita Retreat Center that Sean Patrick Milligan, a parishioner of Our Lady of the Mountain Parish here, discovered the beauty of the Rogue River Valley retreat center. When it came time for him to pick an Eagle Scout project, there were other potential beneficiaries, but St. Rita’s won out.

“The location is beautiful and the grounds are awesome”, said Milligan, a junior at nearby North Medford High School.

The 63-acre retreat center, located north of Medford in the town of Gold Hill, comprises meadows, hills, mountainous terrain and trails. ??

As he was both deciding and planning the project, Milligan spent time with Father Stephen Fister, director of St. Rita’s, to better understand the history of the property and to find purpose in his work.

The property is large and held a number of old wooden benches. Because of time and weather, the benches had given way to water damage, fractured legs and dilapidation.

Milligan’s project consisted of rebuilding and structurally reframing all 17 of the benches, along with sanding, priming and painting them. During the project, he enlisted the help of many of his teen friends — both scouts and non-scouts alike.

Milligan has been involved in scouting since he was 11. He has completed all of the requirements for the prior scout levels — Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life. And now he is pursuing Eagle Scout. ??

As Boy Scouts go through the process of achieving the rank of Eagle, the young men learn project management, leadership and effective communication, among other things.

Milligan said that completing his Eagle project gave him a sense of accomplishment and provided another avenue for focusing on what really matters in life.