Bloom Where You Are Planted

The phrase “Bloom where you are planted” means to make the most of the opportunities presented to you. An Ohio teen is doing just that by using the power of her paint brush to add some color to her hometown.

Bayley Collins, a 16-year-old Belpre High School junior, set out to improve the look of the local park as her contribution to “Belpre in Bloom,” which is part of a larger national beautification competition called “America in Bloom.” For this initiative, volunteers in cities and towns of all sizes across the US come together to add beauty to their communities by planting flowers, cleaning up public spaces and adding landscaping to city entrances.

Among other improvements, bright pink petunias hang along the .8-mile walking trail at Civitan Park and adorn the park entrance, which overlooks the Ohio River. The park buildings are also getting makeovers with some colorful art by Bayley.

Crowned the very first Miss Belpre in Bloom in 2012, Bayley was more recently approached by program coordinator and Belpre city auditor Leslie Pittenger to do some painting at the park. Bayley sketched out her ideas for Leslie, who gave her some leftover paint from the city building and the go-ahead to start to work.

So far, she has added some cheerful flowers on the restroom building, which she hopes to finish in a few weeks. She plans to work through the summer to enhance other buildings at the park. “I want to add some big flowers on the concession stand building with baseballs and softballs as the centers of the flowers,” Bayley shared.

As interest in her creative efforts grew, Woodcraft stepped in to provide Bayley with a colorful array of General Finishes Milk Paint, which is durable enough for outdoor use. “The paint from the city building was good, but there wasn’t very much of it,” Bayley said. “So I was really excited when I heard Woodcraft was giving me paints!” She said the additional paint colors will allow her to add brighter colors to her art and help the overall effect. She likes how the General Finishes products go on, and her favorite of the new colors is Coral Crush: “I didn’t have a good pink color.”

As she paints, Bayley said lot of people stop by to see what she is doing and to check her progress, including city workers, people who walk on the trail and kids on the playground. “The older walkers seem to be really happy about the big flowers,” she noted. “My favorite part so far is the little bumblebees on the front of the restroom building.”

Woodcraft donated several colors of General Finishes Milk Paint.
Bayley continues the colorful art around the side of the building.

Painted bumblebees add even more whimsy to the building art.

Though she enjoys painting and art in other forms, she said, “I’ve never painted anything this big before. I have to step back and look at it sometimes.”

Clearly this teen is having fun with what she is doing. She added, “I hope it helps our Belpre in Bloom efforts and shows that we care about our city.” Belpre has already received Heritage Preservation and Community Involvement awards in prior years. America in Bloom winners for 2016 have not been announced yet.

Bayley’s mother Lisa encourages her daughter’s creative expression for Belpre in Bloom, saying, “It’s fun to watch her continue to participate in a different way, by beautifying her surroundings for an organization that does so much for our area. I’m proud of her artistic talents, but more proud that she genuinely loves and cares for our little town.”

The best part for Bayley: “Seeing it all come together, to see something I did, and I hope it helps the city.”

When asked if she wanted to add anything else during my interview, she quickly said, “Thank you very much for the paint!”

By brightening her little corner of the world and using her talents for good, Bayley has chosen to bloom where she is planted and shine where she was sent. Her artwork will be popping up throughout the summer at Belpre Civitan Park for visitors to enjoy.

Photo by Michele Coleman Photography 

We recently wrote about some teens who honored veterans in their school district. Do you know a teen who is bettering his or her community through woodworking, painting or other creative pursuits? Let us hear from you!

We hope you'll be inspired!

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