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AMBITIOUS PROJECT

Eagle Scout hopeful wants to install playground

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AMBITIOUS PROJECT

Video of Camron Moebius explaining his Eagle Scout project.

hromero/


POSTED March 23, 2013 2:21 a.m.

Camron Moebius learned very quickly that building a playground was, in fact, no walk in the park.

“When we added it all up and came up with the $30,000 price tag, it was kind of a shock,” said KC Moebius, Camron’s father and Boys Scout troop leader. “He realized then: ‘I’m going to need a lot more help.’ ”

As far as Eagle Scout projects go, Camron’s didn’t need to be this difficult. This involved. This grandiose.

But what’s a spiral slide without a climbing wall? What self-respecting playground doesn’t have a fireman’s pole or monkey bars or seating area?

Moebius wants it all for the church that helped raise him – no matter the cost, no matter the personal sacrifice.

The 14-year-old freshman at Lathrop High took one look at the blank space at Sequoia Heights Baptist Church, where a wood playground once wobbled and splintered, and made a pact with himself:

The Eagle Scout candidate, a member of Boy Scout Troop 423, would rebuild the structure.

In its full glory.

No shortcuts.

No cost-cutting.

He was offered just that, too, by Boys Scout district leader David Parker.

“He doubted my power,” Camron said with a sheepish grin. “He asked me, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you can do this?’ He said other kids are painting fire hydrants.

“I think I can do this.”

His first step was to legitimize his plan. He needed a partner with some serious credentials, a reputation in the commercial playground industry.

Enter Marie Deinzer.

Camron partnered with Deinzer and California Playgrounds, a Walnut Creek-based distributor of commercial playground equipment for 20 years. The two have worked on the conceptual two-dimensional design of a modern playground that will feature three slides, a set of monkey bars, a fireman’s pole and climbing wall.

The project will also include a bark play surface, new fencing, concrete, grass removal and the modification of the existing sprinkler system.

Total cost: $30,000.

Five months into the project, Camron has learned that dreams, as vivid and bright as they may be, are relatively cheap. They’re free to anyone with imagination and conviction.

However, bringing those dreams to life would be – gulp – expensive.

“We work with institutions all the time. (But) playgrounds are so expensive. Cities and schools don’t get them anymore,” Deinzer said. “Now you have to want it bad enough to work for it.

“I feel confident. Have I been impressed with Camron? Yes, very, very much. That’s why I think he will do it.”

Camron and KC have made the fund-raising a full-time commitment.

The father-and-son team drafted a donation letter and started a blog site to keep the public apprised of their progress.

Camron has sold See’s Candy, walked door to door with his letter and pledge, applied for grants through Wal-Mart and Home Depot and asked the local Kiwanis Club for their support.

Returns have been slow. Camron has secured roughly $1,000.

“If we can get everyone to help and do what we need to do, it will be all good,” Camron said. “Manteca has 70,000 people – if everyone gave a dollar … gave half a dollar we’d be able to build this.

“I’ve got four years,” he added, “but I don’t want to use all that time. It’s going to get done.”

The Moebiuses hope to make their biggest gains at the Crossroads Street Faire in April. They’ll have a booth at the two-day outdoor festival, where they’ll conduct a “Donate a Dollar Drive.”

The street faire attracts 35,000 visitors to downtown Manteca.

“This is a community thing,” KC said. “If we can get everyone together, we can get this together.”

The project is driven by a sense of nostalgia and sentimentality.

Camron, nearing his 15th birthday, has outlasted two playground structures at Sequoia Heights.

When the last was deemed unsafe in October, church officials approached Troop 423 with a service project.

In effect, they asked Camron to help dismantle and destroy another piece of his childhood.

“It was a difficult for because he had grown up at that church and played on that play set,” the elder Moebius said. “He made it his mission that he would rebuild it as an Eagle Scout project.”

No matter the cost.

“When I was young, the playground was really nice. I looked forward to playing on it,” Camron said. “We’ve had to lose two, so I didn’t have much of a choice. I love this church and I needed an Eagle Scout project.”

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