To Anderson Conkle, the path to becoming an Eagle Scout seemed more than a bit daunting.
Among required projects to qualify for Eagle rank, Anderson painted a 25-foot by 8-foot mural as part of a beautification plan at Desert Cross Church, which hosts Troop 379, of which Anderson is a longtime member.
The first step, the 14-year-old recounted, was to recruit supplies for the project. Several business owners were surprisingly receptive, Anderson said.
One, Andrew Blatnick, owner of AAA Paint and Supply, a Benjamin Moore store at Warner Road and McClintock Drive, stood out.
“Mr. Blatnick donated all of the primer and paint required for the mural, which totaled several hundred dollars,” Anderson said. “I am very grateful for the generosity to my project and the contributions to our local community.”
As to Blatnick, who said he is approached regularly for contributions, Anderson’s approach apparently stood out.
“It is always a tough choice to decide who to help when asked,” said Blatnick. “Anderson presented himself well and asked for help with his project, which in itself can be challenging to do. His project added color and character to Desert Cross Church, and Anderson did a very good job with the mural.
“It is always gratifying to be able to help the community that supports our stores in Tempe and we are impressed with the level of professionalism displayed by Anderson as well as his artistic abilities.”
Anderson, a freshman at Horizon Honors Secondary School in Ahwatukee, said Desert Cross Church, of which the Conkle family is a member, seemed the perfect beneficiary of Anderson’s philanthropic ventures.
“The church is charter sponsor for the troop, so there’s a connection through that,” Anderson said.
The pastor really liked the mural idea.
The next stop involved several other businesses, including Blatnick’s store, followed by meetings with church members and, ultimately, time at the computer to digitally design what the finished project would look like.
And so the work began, aided by other troop members and volunteers within the community.
Now that it’s completed, Anderson reflects on what was learned in the process.
“I think it was a good experience in terms of leadership and organizing,” Anderson said. “I had done nothing of this scale before, so it was really a great opportunity to learn how to plan things and go to the stores (for contributions), how to be professional, to email people and get things coordinated.”
When and how will Anderson be inducted into Eagle Scout rank?
“The general process is I have to put in a report and get letters of recommendation,” Anderson said. “And also, there’s an Eagle (Scout) board that meets once month.”
That time, Anderson said, can’t come too soon: “I’m thinking it could go for May, hopefully by summer.”