New Mint Hill play area takes kids back in time
Kids visiting the Carl J. McEwen Historical Village in Mint Hill now have a place to play, thanks to 16-year-old Tommy Quist.
Tommy, a sophomore at Independence High School, was thinking about what to do for his Eagle Scout project when he remembered a field trip he took to the historical village in kindergarten. Tommy is a member of Boy Scout Troop 65 based at Mint Hill’s Philadelphia Presbyterian Church.
“I definitely wanted to do something local in Mint Hill, you know, give back to the community,” Tommy said. “The (Mint Hill) Historical Society seemed like a good group to help out.”
Tommy met with several members of the nonprofit society to discuss what he could possibly contribute to the village. After juggling a couple ideas, a playground seemed like the perfect project. Soon after, the society and Tommy’s Scout Master gave the project the green light.
The goal was to create the playground as it would have looked in the 1890s. Much of the playground is constructed using materials that would have been used in the late 19th century, such as cedar wood and scrap farm materials. The playground features a rustic-looking swing set and teeter-totter.
Everything used to construct the playground was donated, with a lot of the materials coming from members of the Mint Hill Historical Society. Blue Max donated the mulch around the playground, and Monroe Hardware contributed some concrete.
After clearing the area, securing the poles with concrete, spreading mulch and planting some grass, Tommy and his fellow Scouts got to work. For two Saturdays in a row last month, 13 Scouts and about six Scout Masters volunteered four consecutive hours of their time to build the playground. Despite one rainy day, the playground was finished after just two workdays – and in time for the Discover Mint Hill Festival April 21, where kids flocked to use the new equipment.
Although Tommy had help, he was ultimately the one in charge of the endeavor, as Eagle Scout projects focus not just on the community, but on leadership as well.
“I have plenty of experience with leadership, but the biggest thing about this project is not just seeing one part of it, but starting from the beginning, coming up with the idea for the project and seeing it realized all the way through,” Tommy said.
Members of the Historical Society are grateful for Tommy’s effort and for all the hard work put into the project.
“One of our goals was to put in a play area for children,” Sue McDonald, administrative director of the Mint Hill Historical Society, said. “Children, when they come to visit, need to have a play area while parents are looking around. With this, (we can) take kids back to 100 years ago and have them enjoying the outdoors.”
Tommy hopes his accomplishments can be an inspiration to youth everywhere.
“You don’t have to spend all your time playing video games or basketball,” he said. “Even at the age of 16, you can do something real that will impact people’s lives.”
According to McDonald, he certainly has.
“We hope that he goes away from here feeling proud that he accomplished something that is going to be enjoyed for a long time,” she said.
Calling all Eagles!
If you are planning or have recently completed an Eagle Scout project, we want to know. E-mail email@example.com or call 704-849-2261.