Boy Scout Service Project Prepares Unity Playground for Back to School

When students at Mountain View Elementary School in Unity return to class on Monday, they’ll find a refreshed play area with their own hands.

More than two dozen members of Mountain View Cub Scouts Pack 476 spent Saturday cleaning up trash and clearing brush from the school’s outdoor recreation area. The group spent the afternoon building four picnic tables with lumber donated by 84 Lumber and Stone & Company.

“We thought it was a nice service project because it’s their school,” said Jodi Kronenwetter, who along with her 8-year-old son Griffin participated in what pack leaders said ‘it would probably become an annual exercise.

Parents and pupils arrived on Saturday morning to find a large pile of mulch delivered to the school the day before. Staff planned to lay it out on the playground early next week. Although not initially part of the weekend project, buckets and wheelbarrows were deployed by parents and children to move mulch throughout the property.

Pack leader Chris Sheetz, 45, envisions the playground project as an annual venture.

“They’re going to be here running around here like crazy, so at least we know it’s going to be safe,” Sheetz said.

Sheetz works as a corrections officer at Fayette County State Correctional Facility. When her stepson, 11-year-old Jacob, decided to join the scouts, Sheetz signed on first as den leader and eventually for the entire pack, which is based at the school and includes around 46 students from kindergarten to fifth grade.

The group is a family pack that includes both boys and girls, Sheetz said.

“We’re here to make children’s lives better,” Sheetz said. “We want your brothers and sisters, and we want your mom and dad here to help you.”

Saturday’s project also included the construction of picnic tables to replace those previously loaned to school as part of covid precautions but have since been removed.

The students, with the help of adults, assembled the pre-cut wood and followed the instructions created by a parent who had built a table the day before as an example for the children to follow.

Mountain View Director Chad Krehlik said the Cubs’ work is an example of community involvement.

“I think it accurately reflects what Mountain View means to the community,” Krehlik said. “Just seeing all these kids and parents together and volunteering their time before the first day of school is amazing.”

The playground, he said, is an important and integral part of the school experience. Its cleaning and security were needed before the more than 700 students returned for classes this week.

“I expected a few kids to come out, but that’s on another level,” Krehlik said. “I’ll step in and lend a hand.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .