Fairfield Scout brings fitness to the community with new project

FAIRFIELD — Aryan Maheshwari, a sophomore at Fairfield Ludlowe, turned to weightlifting this past year as one of the activities he could safely do during the pandemic.

Now he’s hoping to share that passion with the community through the creation of an outdoor fitness center at Veres Park as his Eagle Scout project.

“The town of Fairfield has provided many great opportunities and services to residents in the past few years,” said Maheshwari, a member of Scout Troop 82. “However, there is a lack of public physical wellness. This can be resolved starting this summer and spring. By building a strong and lasting structure, local residents will be able to practice safe and healthy exercise, free of cost.”

He started building the project on July 10 was just putting the finishing touches on it this week.

Maheshwari’s path to fitness started while he and his family were on a family vacation outside the country. His dad brought back a bodybuilding book by Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, the book sat around in the house for a long time until Maheshwari found himself flipping through the pages during quarantine.

“I completely forgot about the book and then when quarantine came when all the schools shut down, there was a long period where you had to stay at home and there wasn’t much to do,” Maheshwari said. “I was looking through that book one day and decided I wanted to get into this sport.”

He decided to take his passion a step further and let the community enjoy it too.

“I thought this was good project because when the pandemic first started all of the equipment was really expensive and all the gyms were closed so there was not much that you could really do besides go on runs and body weight stuff,” he added. “That’s how I started off just in my garage and outside in my backyard. I felt as the summer comes around this would be a good way for people to get out and exercise.”

Maheshwari was met with a lot of praise when he first started fundraising and spreading the idea of his plan. During the first five days of his fundraising on GoFundMe, Maheshwari received more than $700 from community members. His goal was only $920.

The support continued outside of fundraising.

Maheshwari spoke with companies for material donations, people from lumber stores to understand materials and architects from the department of public works to further discuss blueprints and designs.

He said one of the biggest challenges was speaking with town officials and figuring out what to say to get their support in building a fitness center on town property with a group of volunteers.

“So far what I have learned is that consistency is a really big thing.” Maheshwari said. “Even when it comes to bodybuilding or schoolwork, if you’re not consistent with what you do you’re never going to get the results that you want to see. I could have given up when the town said something or when someone else said that the town isn’t going to let you build this and I didn’t. I kept pushing forward and progressing and I think that paid off in the end.”

He hopes his project inspires others.

“Leading this project played a much bigger role then I would have thought,” he added. “I developed a new set of skills that I otherwise would not have and created connections that helped me learn about myself as a individual. I hope that this inspires those around me to work on creating a even more active and ongoing community. I am grateful for my family, the DPW, my scout troop and everyone who supported me through this journey.”