Most Viewed Stories
Volunteers scour skatepark
A group of Willows Cub Scouts saw the writing on the wall, and decided to do something about it.
Pack No. 68 spent Saturday painting the Willows Skateboard Park, where vandals repeatedly leave an ocean of gang-related symbols and other spray-painted scribbles.
"It's nice to be able to do this for the community," said Aiden Imperatrice, 9, the Pack's newest member. "The skatepark looks better with all the bad words covered up."
Willows police officers closed the park around noon on Saturday, where 17 scouts, parents and troop leaders pitched in to paint over the mostly gang-related graffiti.
Willows police said the graffiti problem at the park and elsewhere is relentless.
As soon as one act of vandalism is cleaned up, another one appears, officers said.
Working together, it took the scouts a little more than an hour to roll on a coat of bright white paint, as people waiting to use the park stood watching.
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate this," said Christina Bohm of Orland, who brought her children to the skateboard park on Saturday. "What a wonderful example of what young people can do to take care of the community."
Bohm was so impressed with the boys' enthusiasm for the project, she said she wants to take the idea back to the Orland Boy Scouts, of which her sons are members.
"I would like to see our kids do something like this," she said.
Willows Cub Scout Kasey Coffman, 8, said painting the park was so much fun, it hardly seemed like work at all.
"I think we should get out and do more stuff like this," said Coffman, who has been a scout for two years.
Most of the boys, some in the organization since the first grade, said they have never done a project that directly serves the community, other than participate in the annual canned food drive.
The boys said they wouldn't mind doing more work-related projects that serve the community, if it was needed.
In fact, that is the reason parents and leaders organized the skatepark project, said Cynthia Roach, Pack No. 68 Committee chairwoman and den leader.
"Community service is an important part of scouting," Roach said. "We would like to see the boys do more."
Since its founding in 1910, Boy Scouts of America has become one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S.
The Willows Cub and Boy Scouts troops have been around for decades, providing opportunities for youth to learn responsible citizenship and self-reliance through a wide range of outdoor activities and other programs, leaders said.
Pack No. 68 Board member Kristen Gray, whose 9-year-old son Garrett has been scouting for four years, said the organization has provided wonderful opportunities for the kids.
The pinewood derby is one of the most popular and successful family activities for the Cub Scouts, she said. Boy Scouts participate in an annual camping and fishing trip.
Several years ago, however, the number of Pack NO. 68 members declined to less than 12, requiring effort from leaders to renew interest in the program.
That effort has now paid off, Roach said, and a reinvigorated group hopes to put a new stamp on the face of scouting.
"The more scouts we have, the more parents," Roach said. "The more parents we have, the more ideas we have."
Pack 68 has 28 members who are looking for other projects that beautify or benefit the Willows community, Roach said.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.