Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagle Scout Made Fixing Up Mission House His Mission

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagle Scout Made Fixing Up Mission House His Mission

Article excerpt


Despite a rainy summer and the frustrations of coordinating volunteers, 16-year-old Sean Smith and his team painted and made repairs at Mission House, a Jacksonville Beach-based day facility for homeless people.

The Eagle Scout Leadership Project wrapped up in late August, earning Smith the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.

Along the way, Smith, a member of Ponte Vedra Beach Boy Scout Troop 288, said he learned what it takes to be responsible for a large project and to plan for the unexpected.

Mission House Executive Director Jan Flager acknowledged that the daily rain showers and the facility's hours of operation posed some difficulties.

"Sean and his team did a fantastic job," Flager said. "Whenever they met a challenge, they met it with grace and solved it immediately."

The biggest hurdle was time management, Smith said, including the coordination of workdays around the schedules of 14 volunteers, which included fellow Boy Scouts and his brother and parents.

The team worked 175 hours, cleaning and painting about 2,000 square feet of wooden ramps, stairs, railings, hallways and the medical clinic and director's office. They also replaced stairway boards and installed four rows of shelves in the hallway, contributing a total of about $2,253 worth of work and materials.

But it didn't always go smoothly.

Smith had originally planned to use stain because it would work better on the wood at the facility at 800 Shetter Ave. Then he learned that stain would take 24 hours to dry.

Because the work had to be done while Mission House was closed, Smith said he had to buy paints that would dry before the facility reopened. He chose a light cream-colored paint that would dry within 12 hours.

The team could only work after 1 p.m. on Saturdays and couldn't paint outside when it was raining. Thus, the effort involved several cancellation dates and took much longer than expected.

Sometimes, when the skies were clear and conditions were ripe for painting, volunteers didn't show up and there weren't enough people to get the job done. …

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