The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

2013 Boy Scout Jamboree

July 30, 2013

Boy Scouts' labor spruces up Monroe County schools

Civic projects in a nine-county region benefited from this summer’s influx of free labor, as thousands of Boy Scouts turned their attention to the largest community service effort in U.S. history.

Among the beneficiaries of the labors of the young men and women, who were in southern West Virginia attending the National Scout Jambo-ree, was Monroe County, where improvements to schools took center stage.

Monroe County Clerk Donald Evans served as project manager at Peterstown Elementary School, where for five days Scouts weeded flower gardens, cleaned the school’s interior — including washing the windows — painted lines in both the main parking lot and the secondary lot behind the school and resealed the wood components of the Pirate Playground.

That last item was no simple task, Evans noted, as the playground contains seven miles of lumber. The Scouts also sealed the perimeter fence that surrounds the playground.

“My Scouts were from Charlotte, N.C.; Charlottesville, Va.; Massachusetts; Shanksville, Pa.; and Arizona,” Evans said.

“This is one of the best community service projects I’ve ever been involved with,” he added. “I learned so much from these kids. They were so well-mannered and respectful, and their Scout units were so structured.”

Assisting Evans was rising James Monroe High School senior Preston Jones, an intern in the county clerk’s office.

“I’m not sure what I would have done without him,” Evans said of Jones. “He was constantly running and getting supplies, supervising Scouts and doing anything I asked him to do.”

Principal Steve Ballengee served as Peterstown Middle School’s project manager.

Projects completed in the five days Scouts spent at the middle school included landscaping, painting indoors and out, washing windows, trimming trees and cleaning out gutters and a flowerbed. The Scouts even planted a tree at the school.

In a separate project at the middle school, Tommie Noble managed Scouts from Pennsylvania, Illinois and Idaho for two days as they helped create a miniature quilt trail — mirroring Monroe County’s well-known full-size quilt trail.

Prior to the Scouts’ arrival, Noble assigned local volunteers to create quilt designs on 2-foot-square boards. Then, the Scouts painted the designs and coated them with polyurethane.

The quilt squares will be placed at businesses in Peterstown and in homeowners’ yards.

“We got a ton of work done at these two schools, saving our board of education thousands of dollars,” Evans pointed out.

And the Scouts learned about rural life, as well.

“One of the things that surprised the Scouts was that Monroe County has no stop lights or chain fast food restaurants,” Evans said.

“This was just a great overall experience for the project managers and our volunteers,” he said.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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2013 Boy Scout Jamboree