Paint the Picket Challenge

Paint the Picket Challenge

Ever come across something so inspiring that you can’t wait to share it with others?

Several years ago, I visited the Spanish Horticultural Society’s Flower and Vegetable Show where I learned all about their “Paint the Picket” category. Members registered free of charge (non-members paid $5.00) and each was provided with a wooden picket. They were instructed to prime and decoratively paint the picket using a horticultural theme and hand them in to be judged. Winners were announced and given ribbons and/or cash, I think, but the pickets were retained by the Society. They were fashioned into small sections which could then be connected together to form a decorative fence that could be used to decorate their venue for future Society events.

I liked this idea so much I approached John Bois, Past President and one of the founding members, and asked if District 13 could tweak their Society’s creation and use it in the 2011 Convention. The Spanish Society agreed and we came up with the idea of the entire OHA working together to produce a decorative fence that could be donated to a community organization such as a hospital or hospice in Sudbury–a thank you gift of sorts that would show our appreciation for being such generous and accommodating hosts of our upcoming convention. It would also serve as a permanent reminder that the Ontario Horticultural Association exists to “Keep Ontario Beautiful.’

To keep the project manageable, 110 pickets were cut out by Klara Kluge’s husband (Massey-Walford Horticultural Society) and paid for by the Massey-Walford and Spanish Societies. Some 50 pickets were primed by the Thessalon Society–the rest were left unpainted due to time constraints of having the pickets ready for the Barrie Convention.

Four pickets were distributed to each of the eighteen District Directors. They have been instructed to take them back to their respective Societies who will decide collectively how their members will work together to get their pickets painted. They may pick names out of a hat, have the Societies designate certain members or hold a competition themselves to decide on who will decorate the pickets–whatever they so choose. As Host District, we will be distributing 1 picket to each of our 14 Societies (we have 14 in total) at our Fall meeting in Blind River.

The Executive and Board were assigned 12 pickets to represent their members and the 2011 Youth Camp delegates/leaders will receive some pickets next year as well.

The plan is to have the completed decorated pickets from the Districts and the Board returned to the March 2011 Board Meeting. The Youth Camp pickets will be completed on the Friday of their weekend camp and picked up later that night so that the entire fence can be constructed and prepared for viewing during the Sunday Plenary session. That way, we will have the chance to see our finished creation before it makes its way to its new home.

To ready your picket for decorative paint, be sure to prime it first with white latex house paint which can be rolled on or applied with a brush. Be sure to do all sides and use a brush to get into hard-to-reach spots. You may have to wait 4 hours or more until the paint fully dries before applying a second coat. Decide on how you will decorate– freehand, stencil, etc. and apply your design. Please write the name of all your Societies and District on the back of the pickets, not on the front.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie


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