RICHMOND — “Who wants to do green?” Richmond Police Officer Josh Hale asked as children swarmed around him with paint brushes Tuesday afternoon at Lake Reba Park.
The wall of the soccer complex concession stand loomed in front of the group, spotted with vibrant colors as the Richmond Police Department summer campers rushed to complete a mural under the threatening clouds.
“Oh, you’ve got some on your nose!” Richmond Teen Center Director Georgia Parks said to one paint-splattered teen as she helped carry paint cans around the site.
Fifty students and 10 teen counselors worked for two hours to complete the large painting, which Hale had mapped out in a mosaic pattern prior to the children attacking it with paint brushes. Using a paint-by-numbers method, the painting gradually started to fill in.
The camp, which started June 24 and will end July 26, is an annual program sponsored by the Richmond Police Department. School Resource Officers Whitney Maupin and Hale direct the camp.
Hale said the campers do a variety of activities throughout the four weeks, including attending a professional baseball game, visiting Paradise Cove Aquatic Center, playing laser tag, going bowling and doing community volunteer work.
The campers also receive character education with programs about bullying and proper etiquette, Hale said.
The camp will culminate in an overnight trip to a surprise location, Hale added.
Kentucky River Foothills provides transportation for the children, and local businesses donate luncheon meals.
When Maupin mentioned that KFC was donating chicken for lunch Wednesday, one girl excitedly exclaimed her approval.
The mural was completed by the 2:30 p.m. deadline. Surrounded by the stained-glass color pattern, the slogan “Go Play Live Life” is now emblazoned on the backside of the soccer concession stand.
Hale and Maupin are looking for other locations for camper-created murals. Businesses and property owners interested in providing a site for the next mural are encouraged to call the Richmond Police Department at 623-1162.