Learning by doing: A Reflection on the Lasting Impacts Paint Project

By: Lawrence Panzo

paint project

On April 27, 2013, a group of 26 Rovers from the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, in partnership with the Sherwin-Williams Company, volunteered to paint the large dining hall at the Youville Residence, a senior care centre.  In that one day alone, we followed our mantra of “learning by doing” things that pure academic work could not have taught us.

The 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group is a personal development and project management based group. I have always harboured a passion in helping others in the community and voiced this to Darren Shum, the head of our Recruitment Department. He informed me of an opportunity to partner with the Sherwin-Williams Company, one of the largest producer of paints and coatings in the world, that aided our endeavour to benefit the community. Thus, I was faced with my first project in the Rover Scout Group

My passion and commitment to community service was supported by fellow Rovers. In our Scout Group, you are always provided with guidance and encouragement. Calvin Cheng, Darren Shum, and Sophia Yip coached me throughout the project, ensuring that I was on the right track. With their support, I learned various project management skills such as communication with a team, delegation, and executing an action plan on the day of the project.

paint project small pictures

A lesson in kindness and humility:

No matter how much a person reads about kindness, they will never fully understand it until it is shown to them.  While we were at Youville Residence, we gave kindness in the form of our community service project, but the residents gave us so much more.  They made us pizza, baked us fresh cookies, and came down to thank and tell us how much our project will impact their lives. Residents, such as, Bill kept thanking every person individually during his visit, and it just touched the hearts of everyone he talked to.  Furthermore, Rose, another resident, was a ball of energy that helped us keep going, and John celebrated his birthday with us to show the many uses of the dining hall.

Without a doubt, the project was a great success.  I learned lessons in team building, project management and compassion, and the biggest take-away that I got was: “reap what you sow”. We showed kindness, and in return, we received kindness infinite times over.  We worked hard to plan and execute our project, and in the process, we learned invaluable lessons in project management and team building.  Finally, we planned hard and had so much fun painting the dining hall.  Everyone involved in the project learned by doing, and showed P.E.R.S.I.S.T. through their work.

A few thank-yous …

Kay, Jo-Ann (click here to read our interview with Jo-Ann!) and Ryan – staff at Youville – took such amazing care of our group so that all our needs were met.  We are extremely thankful for their support.

The project would not have been a success without the hard work of the site maintenance manager, Willy.  He helped guide us through the painting process, and helped fix any imperfections in our paint job.  Even as an outsider, you can really tell that he cares deeply about the building and the residents at Youville.

I would not have done this without my team, which consisted of the following wonderful Rovers: Edna Cheng, Carol Chan, Victor Chan, Karen Tse, Monique Wong, Felipe Gasparino, and Angela So. Without a doubt, I learned a tremendous amount of project management tools as well as strategies when working with an extremely diverse team. I have taken a lot from this project and am honoured to have this as my first. I look forward to future projects and what I can learn from them. There are certain aspects of project management that cannot be learned by reading, only by doing. Our Scout Group harbours an environment that allows me to build those experiences.


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