Beth Tuschhoff next to the mural she painted at the Tukwila Pool for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. Heidi Sanders, Tukwila Reporter

Teen paints mural at Tukwila Pool for Girl Scout project

Patrons of the Tukwila Pool may have noticed a new mural greeting them as they enter the facility.

On June 17, Beth Tuschhoff, 18, of the Bellevue area, created the swimming-themed painting on the pool’s outside wall for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, which is the equivalent to the Eagle Scout award in Boy Scouts. To help bring Tuschhoff’s vision to life, community members also wielded paint brushes.

“You do what is called a ‘take-action project,’” Tuschhoff said of the Gold Award requirements. “You have to involve community members, and it has to be sustainable and long lasting.”

The recent Hazen High School graduate competed at the Tukwila Pool while on her school’s swim team and decided she wanted to help improve the pool for her project.

“Originally, I wanted to help with their (starting) blocks because they were really slippery every time we had to swim,” she said. “They (pool staff) said they wanted more of a professional person to do that, so we came up with a list of different things I could do, and I picked doing the mural.”

The mural was Tuschhoff’s first real artistic endeavor.

“I like sketching and doing things like that, but I really haven’t done anything formally,” she said. “I came up with a couple different design ideas. The board (of directors for the pool) looked at it and decided which one they liked the best.”

Tuschhoff found inspiration for her design online, and with her father’s help, created cardboard stencils.

She raised the money for paint and supplies by hosting several parents’ nights off at the pool with help from her friends.

Farwest Paint Manufacturing Co., in Tukwila, helped Tuschhoff choose the paint colors and offered advice on surface preparation and materials.

Tuschhoff is also working with city of Tukwila staff to put up signs that direct people to the pool.

She conducted an online survey on her mural to get feedback from residents to include in her Gold Award report.

Jeri Frangello-Anderson, president of the Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District, described how the project evolved.

“Her original plan was to take on a very large project of trying to obtain funding for a permanent outdoor sign and soon realized this was not attainable,” Frangello-Anderson said in an email. “She scaled down her project to include visibility for the Tukwila Pool and decided upon painting a mural and obtaining street signs to be placed around the city of Tukwila.”

The pool staff and community appreciate the work Tuschhoff put into creating the mural, Frangello-Anderson said.

“The reaction from patrons and the online survey has been overwhelming,” she said. “Patrons now realize that we have a pool in Tukwila, and that this blue building isn’t just part of the school.”

Vanessa Zaputil, a commissioner for the pool district, helped paint the mural, and said it, “looks as if it has always been there.”

“While painting, every patron who walked by commented favorably on the mural,” Zaputil said in an email. “Many expressed excitement when leaving to see the progress made while they were in the facility enjoying the pool. Several kids picked up paintbrushes to join in the fun and make their lasting impression on this community project. For me, the joy in their faces are a perfect illustration of how the community feels about their pool.”

Zaputil said the international swimming symbol was a great choice for the mural and will help people identify the pool.

“With multiple language spoken in our community, this mural transcends language barriers, and clearly indicates not only that it is a swimming pool but also guides people to a safe space,” she said.

Tuschhoff, who has been a Girl Scout for 14 years, hopes to stay involved with the organization.

“Now if I help with Girl Scouts, I would be more of a leader or helping with day camps or something like that,” she said.

She has enjoyed her time in Girl Scouts.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “We have had a lot of leadership opportunities. I’ve grown a lot through it and made a lot of friends.”

This fall, Tuschhoff plans to attend the University of Idaho and major in applied mathematics.

Beth Tuschhoff, with help from community members, paints a mural at the Tukwila Pool. COURTESY PHOTO

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