MARYSVILLE — The students of Liberty Elementary are starting the new school year with a freshly repainted playground, and while many of its lines were repainted by members of the Grove Church in Marysville, who also worked on the school's track, one of the blacktop's most visible features was repainted by an area Boy Scout and half a dozen fellow volunteers, whose five hours of painting on Aug. 3 took months of preparations to make happen.
William Schamp joined the Boy Scouts at the age of 10, and as a 15-year-old heading into his sophomore year at Arlington High School, he's already completed his Eagle Scout project, repainting a map of the United States on the pavement of Liberty Elementary's playground, which was inspired in part by the fact that the wife of one of his Scout Leaders works at the school.
"The hardest part was talking to people to get donations," William Schamp said in a low, quiet voice. "It's a challenge for me to talk to people in general. I'm not exactly a social person."
"He did very well talking to people at Lowe's to gather up supplies for the project," said Kim Schamp, William's mom. "He actually got over his shyness pretty quickly. He also had to take control of his work party for the day's painting, and he did a good job of keeping those kids in line. They all had a fun time painting that day."
Lowe's donated all eight gallons of the paint that William Schamp and his fellow volunteer laborers used to repaint the faded U.S. map, and while they wound up with plenty of paint left over, it took three coats of paint each to color in the states that were red, orange and yellow, since those colors showed up as more transparent against the blacktop.
Liberty Elementary Principal Gloria Henderson touted the influence that she's seen the repainted playground map having on kids before the new school year even started.
"Already this summer, we had kids coming by the playground to look at the new map, and they've been telling each other the full state names, since the states are only identified by their first letters on the map," said Henderson, who expressed enthusiasm for the map's bright new eye-catching colors. "It's powerful to see them learning outside of the school year, and when we can tell our kids that it was another kid who made the repainting happen, it's also powerful, because it shows them that you can make a difference, and have a positive impact on your school and your community, even when you're still just a kid."