FRUIT HEIGHTS -- Now the castle will be fit for a king.
More than 300 teenagers spent Friday at Castle Heights Park. Part of the day they were on the baseball fields and volleyball courts. At other times they were on the playground going in and out of the castle.
They were not there to play, but there were plenty of smiles.
"On a summer day, there are so many other things to do," said Jared Prisbrey, one of the youth leaders in attendance. "It's inspiring that so many of the youths are here."
As part of a service project for the young people in the Fruit Heights stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, close to 350 youths and their leaders arrived at the park at 9 a.m. and worked until 4 p.m. to beautify the city's park.
The main focus was the castle. Built about seven years ago, the castle is a major attraction at the park. Of late, however, the castle has not looked very majestic.
"It's cool because it's kind of fallen apart and didn't look all that great," said Norm Adams, 17. "When we're done it will look great, and people will drive by and see what we've done."
A youth committee of 18 teenagers -- a boy and a girl from each of the wards in the stake -- planned the activity. Several of Friday's volunteers had a special place in their heart for the castle.
"A lot of them were present when we announced the idea, and they said, 'Cool, I helped build that,'" said David Broadbent, one of the adult leaders. "So they're thrilled to provide maintenance."
Fruit Heights city provided the stain, paint, brushes and wood chips for the castle area. The money for those supplies came from the city budget, but the city needed volunteers to complete the task.
"They seem to be pretty excited about it," said Fruit Heights Mayor Todd Stevenson. "That playground gets a lot of use, and because of that it needs maintenance on it, and we appreciate community members taking time to do that."
The youth rotated between working on the castle, the baseball field, the dugouts and the volleyball courts throughout the day.
Their service was not just limited to the park. Under the shade of some tents, the hard workers also made 20 quilts that will be sent to the humanitarian office of the LDS Church.
Also, as part of the service project, three Boy Scouts used the day to complete their Eagle Scout service projects.
Alex Wagstaff, Thomas Roberts and Jarem Anderson planned to have the volunteers help create blocks that will end up in the hands of less fortunate children.
"It makes me happy to know that children who are less fortunate will have stuff to play with," said Wagstaff, 15.
The Scouts already had the blocks cut before Friday, so volunteers spent their time sanding the blocks before painting them in various colors. The blocks also will be sent to the church's humanitarian office.
"It's nice seeing all this stuff get done before your eyes," said Roberts, 17.
The number of people who volunteered their time was far more than organizers had expected, but the leaders were not complaining. Those serving also know that they benefited from their work.
"The spirit of service gives you a good attitude in life," said Anderson, 17.