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Pebbles On the Pond: Local scoutmaster and friends make playtime a little more safe, fun for Mahube Head Start kids this fall

Volunteers (from left) Charlie Zemlicka, Jon Lason and Steven Hendrickson spent three days this past week sprucing up the playhouse at Mahube-Otwa Head Start so the preschoolers would have a safer, nicer-looking house to play in when they start classes in September. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)1 / 3
Volunteers Steven Hendrickson, left, and Charlie Zemlicka work on fixing the floors and porch area of the Mahube-Otwa Head Start playhouse. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 3
Volunteers Jon Lason, left, and Charlie Zemlicka work on painting the playhouse railing and deciding what still needs to be done to make it as safe and secure as possible. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)3 / 3

"Every act of kindness is like a pebble thrown in a pond, sending out ripples far beyond where the pebble entered the water. When we're caring and kind to our neighbors, our actions send rings of kindness that spread from neighbor to neighbor to neighbor." — Angela Artemis

Earlier this summer, Mahube-Otwa Head Start Coordinator Marie Ashland put out a call to several Scoutmasters in the lakes area, asking if there were any local Boy Scouts looking for a service project to earn their Eagle Scout badges.

"I had a little project that I needed help with," she said, adding that the outdoor playhouse used by the Head Start students needed some sprucing up.

"It's about 10-15 years old now, and it needed some repairs," she added. "I was just looking to get a few more years of use out of it."

Unfortunately, what she discovered was that all the local Scouts who were in need of an Eagle Scout project had already found one.

"I was a little late (in making the request)," Ashland said.

But about a month later, she heard back from Scoutmaster Jon Lason over at Lake Park-Audubon.

"I wanted to round up some of my Scouts to do it as a service project," Lason said. "My wife is a PCA (personal care attendant) for Mahube, so I'm well aware of all the stuff they do for the communities in this area."

What Lason discovered, however, was that his Scouts were already caught up in various school-related activities — so he rounded up a couple of friends, Charlie Zemlicka and Steven Hendrickson, and they headed over to the Mahube-Otwa Head Start offices in Detroit Lakes to take care of the project themselves.

The trio spent three days this past week, Tuesday through Thursday, doing extensive work on the Head Start playhouse — cleaning out the interior, replacing loose and broken floorboards, sealing the floor so all the little wild critters that populated a nearby wooded area couldn't get inside, and completely repainting the exterior and porch railings.

"We're just spiffing her up a little," Hrdlicka said. "We wanted to get rid of the chipped paint, fix up the floor so the kids don't fall and make it pretty for them."

"They really breathed new life into it," Ashland said. "They've made me so happy!"

And when the kids start classes at Head Start in about a week and a half, they'll find a playhouse that looks almost brand new — thanks to a trio of volunteer repairmen who spent a few hours in the late summer sun, making sure it was safe, secure and fun to play inside.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454