Giving back to the community
The pavilion at Liberty Park in Mansfield is all spruced up thanks to Boy Scout Troop 123.
Members of the troop cleaned and painted the lower half of the pavilion as part of a requirement for the Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge.
Assistant Scoutmaster Peter Lehman said work began the weekend of Sept. 9 and 10. Saturday afternoon they cleaned, and Sunday they began painting all of the picnic tables and inside the lower half of the pavilion.
“The scouts and leadership were very tired and it was well earned after the weekend renovations at the park,” says Peter.
But there was still more work to be done, and the entire project wasn’t finished until Oct. 7.
Part of the requirement for the badge is to volunteer at least eight hours for a charitable organization.
“If you include the planning and work on the Liberty Park ideas, we spent more than 40 hours over the last six months,” explains Peter.
Last spring the scouts started looking into several projects to earn their Citizenship in the Community merit badge. The Scouts all had input on selecting the community project. Ideas ranged from working on areas of the bike path to putting together a collage of different tourist attractions across the county.
Staff from the Mansfield Parks Department and Downtown Mansfield, Inc. gave the Scouts a presentation and they immediately wanted to go look at the possibilities at Liberty Park. Even narrowing down the projects at Liberty Park took some work.
“We visited the park to look at the natural amphitheater, the soccer field, the softball/baseball field, the pavilion, and even digging out the creek,” said Peter.
The Scouts decided to renovate the pavilion since it’s constantly being used by a lot of people, and they wanted to improve it for their community.
“The guys knew that a lot of our recreation people and local providers take individuals in wheelchairs there for outings – some of the picnic tables are wheelchair accessible,” added Peter.
The Mansfield Parks Department purchased the materials but they let the Scouts pick out the paint colors. The troop kept the basic green and white color scheme used in the city parks but wanted to add color to the pavilion area. They all agreed on painting the tables bright red.
The Scouts and leaders will create a slide show of their project and include historical information from when the park was built, which is also a requirement of the merit badge.
According to Peter there are three Citizenship merit badges: Community, Nation, and World.
“We’ve almost finished two in the past three years. That’s a lot of work for all of the guys,” he said.
Peter has been stressing to the Scouts that they are citizens in this community.
“Their voices have worth as citizens and their worries can and should be heard by local politicians,” he noted.
Peter said the Scouts have also learned the limits of government through this project, even if it’s just looking at things like parks that need paint and roads full of potholes.« Back to Stories