McKinely Park is shining a little brighter in the summer sun after a public-service project resulted in all the white posts around the park being repainted.
All 537 of them.
Allison and Rebekah Queener of Creston took on the project to fill requirements for Venture Crew, a program for young men and women 14- to 20-years-old or 13-year-olds who have completed the eighth grade.
Venturing works a lot like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, but instead of working for badges, the Venture Crew completes advancements to meet award requirements.
“Everything is based on getting them out there in front of people and getting them aware of what is in their community,” said Jennifer Queener, Allison and Rebekah’s mother.
The project idea came from mentor and friend Doug Davenport, who works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
While at a weekly meeting with the Venture Crew, Davenport noticed the white post were in need of new paint and suggested the public-service project to the girls.
“Doing these things helps get the kids exposed to the community,” Davenport said. “It forces them to get out and do things that are community-oriented.”
Painting all 537 posts took four days — one day was cut short because of rain — and the girls recruited some help from friends and family to complete the project.
The paint was donated by Creston Parks and Recreation Board.
Allison is currently working on multiple ongoing projects to earn the rank of Ranger and complete gold and silver advancement.
Silver is the highest award for the Venture Crew and is comparable to the rank of Eagle Scout.
“Everything they do goes into a category, and they have to complete so many categories,” Jennifer said.
Rebekah said a recent project was giving oral presentations to members in the community. The sisters met with the Union County Soil and Water Conservation Board to discuss how the Venture Crew can assist with programs like the Hurley Creek restoration project.
They also spoke to seniors at the YMCA in Creston and a 55-plus group to promote fitness.
Allison’s next goal is to complete her orienteering advancement and wilderness survival core requirement.
“Camping is mostly what I like,” Allison said. “I like cooking with the dutch oven.”
Davenport is helping plan out the orienteering project. The sisters will use a compass to navigate a two and a-half-mile course.
“I also want to help the kids build a solar oven or solar water heater to teach them about renewable fuels and energy,” Davenport said.
Despite the summer heat, Allison and Rebekah are already thinking about Christmas.
Last year, the sisters partnered with friends and Boy Scouts to sent out Christmas cards to veterans from Union County.
They are starting the project earlier this year, hoping to raise enough donations to expand their reach into Adams County.
To make a contribution to help send Christmas cards to veterans, call Jennifer at 641-782-2583.