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Second-grader's essay wins Scout den a free trip to water park

Matthew Weselak looks forward to water slides at Evergreen


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Matthew Weselak, 7, was one of eight winners of a water-themed essay contest invited to bring his Cub Scout den for a free day at Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark.Seven-year-old Matthew Weselak recognizes the importance of water in his daily life — for washing up, helping to grow his mom’s flowers and refreshment at dinner time. He also realizes the importance of not wasting it.

“When I wake up, I use water to brush my teeth,” he wrote in an essay. “I remember to turn the water off when I’m brushing to save water.”

The Cooper Mountain boy’s thoughts on the liquid that sustains us all impressed judges at Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark enough to earn him and his nine fellow Pack 383, Den 1 Cub Scouts a free day-long visit on Saturday to the aviation-themed park in McMinnville.

Matthew was one of eight essay winners chosen in September from Scout groups within a 100-mile radius of the park and museum. He was the only winner from Beaverton.

Beth Weselak, the Cooper Mountain Elementary School second-grader’s mom, says getting to Evergreen has been a goal of Matthew’s and his family for some time.

“He’s always wanted to go, so this is a special treat for his entire Den 1,” she says.

Among the water park’s 10 slides, wave pool and water-themed science center, Matthew has heard the most about a Boeing 747 aircraft, retired from Evergreen International Airlines, on top of the building. Four water slides shoot off either side of it to carry swimmers over the roof and into the water below.

“I’m thinking about the water slide where you slide right out of a pretend airplane,” he says.

When Matthew’s mom encouraged him to enter the contest, he wasn’t sure exactly how to express his thoughts.

“When I first started, I had no clue what to do,” he says. “So I thought about how I use water in the day.”

Larry Wood, executive director of Evergreen, credits his public relations employees Melissa Grace and Samantha Boehm with putting together the promotional contest.

“We wanted scouts to express themselves about the use of water and come down and use the park,” he says, granting that admission for an entire den, pack or troop is “not inexpensive. You bring a bunch of kids down here it gets expensive in a hurry.”

The water park, which opened in June 2011 as a complement to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, features more than 70,000-square-feet of what Wood calls “educational fun.” Throughout the structure, water park visitors learn, through dozens of interactive exhibits and learning tools, water’s power and its effects on society.

“My son is an Eagle Scout,” Wood adds. “So I know the value of scouting and want to get them to come visit. It’s an educational opportunity for them.”

After what he calls a “very successful first year,” Wood says the facility is making adjustments to draw fans of water fun and aviation history.

“The novelty has worn off, but we’re doing real well,” he says. “We’ve cut hours back in wintertime, and we’re looking for lot of visitors during Christmas. It’s an excellent opportunity during Christmas break, when (our) air temperature of 85 degrees and the water is 83.”

Matthew, who enjoyed making wooden airplane models “and other stuff” at his Cub Scout den camp this year, looks forward to spending a full day at the water park with his scouting buddies.

“I think we’ll have so much fun at the water park,” he says, thanking Evergreen for the invitation. “It’s gonna be the best thing I’ve ever done in the den.”

For more information on Evergreen, visit evergreenmuseum.org/waterpark.




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