MONTVILLE, NJ – Three Montville teens were recently honored for their work painting a mural at the Camp Dawson barn. The work of art contains just what the Lincoln Park Archers group requested – with a few surprises.

In January of this year, the Lincoln Park Archers decided they wanted to ask volunteers to paint a mural on one of the walls in the barn at Camp Dawson where they have an indoor practice range. Through LPA member Diane O’Toole, they connected with MTHS sophomores Sammy Michalakakis, Jackie Kozell, and Mountain Lakes High School sophomore Riley Como. O’Toole is Michalakakis’ mom, and Kozell and Michalakakis had been to the barn with their Girl Scout troop to learn from the LPA how to shoot.

“The kids visited, talked with us, and drew up three sketches, which they presented to our group, and then we voted on them,” said LPA treasurer Bob Calabro. “They were ingenious.”

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Calabro said the artists first sketched out the design in pencil onto the wall, and then painted the trees in the scene, which is the Camp Dawson barn, the pond there, and some archers.

“Just seeing the trees painted was cool, and then seeing the pond take shape was quick,” Calabro said.

The mural took about six months to paint, Michalakakis said, with about a week and a half to add the final touches.

“The girls would ask for feedback on the details,” Calabro said.

“We shoot at three-dimensional objects, and they snuck in the dinosaur target,” marveled O’Toole.

“They got quite a few details in there, like the moose target we use – they’ve depicted it wonderfully,” said LPA president Joe Lorenti.

“We requested an owl, and that’s in the mural, and the staff shirts are orange and they’re in there too,” Calabro said.

The girls said they haven’t really had much formal training, just art classes at school. Michalakakis said she spends a lot of free time drawing. Como said she had an art show and sold a picture of a bird. Kozell said she loves artist Bob Ross of PBS fame and was in an art show at the Valhalla Club. She has an Instagram account where she posts her drawings.

The Lincoln Park Archers presented the girls with flowers and thanked their moms too – for transporting them.

The group is very thankful for the beautiful addition to their meeting and shooting space.

“The details depict a lot of what the LPA organization is about, how we enjoy the sport of archery, and the camaraderie among the members,” Calabro said. “It’s not often you get kids who want to sit on the cement floor in the coldest days in March and paint. We appreciate their hard work and effort. They should be proud.”

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