STAMFORD — When Georgia Monahan got the idea to have children at the Pathfinders Adventure Camp paint cornhole tables for the Darien Veterans of Foreign Wars post, she didn’t expect the amount of heart the campers would pour into the project.

A counselor at the camp, Monahan is also a volunteer at the VFW post, and was originally going to paint the tables for the beanbag-toss game herself. They’re 3- to 4-foot-long boards with a hole at one end that are set on a stand that holds them at an incline.

But one day, she was in the art class at the camp, based at Cloonan Middle School, and asked the teacher if the children might want to do the project instead.

“It was much more meaningful this way,” Monahan said.

The 21 children involved used the opportunity to show their appreciation for the sacrifices the veterans have made to protect their country.

“I wanted to thank the veterans for keeping us safe because without them we wouldn’t even be here,” said Sherley Renodo, 11, a young artist at the camp.

The board Sherley worked on featured the United States flag and the bald eagle from the U.S. seal, with a message written in finger paint that reads, “There are no words big enough, a hug strong enough, or a smile wide enough to let you know how much you are appreciated. Thank you for keeping me safe. You are my hero.”

“I came up with the quote and people in my team helped paint it,” Sherley said.

Camper Caitlyn Reynolds, 11, said she liked the fact that the project had meaning.

“I liked that we were doing it for a good cause and that everyone got to work together and we were doing something good,” she said.

Owen Pollard, 13, put Air Force and Marines insignia on the board he worked on, which features red, white and blue camouflage.

“I just hope they feel like they’re appreciated a lot,” Pollard said. “That’s what we tried to do, putting all the logos on it.”

Phil Kraft, a Vietnam veteran and past commander of Darien VFW Post 6933, said the cornhole table was much more than a game for veterans to play. It’s an indication that attitudes toward returning members of the armed forces have changed dramatically since the days when Vietnam vets were spit on and shunned.

“It really tells us that... we have witnessed such a change that people only know one way to treat veteran, and that is with gratitude and respect,” Kraft said. “It wasn’t that way when we came home.”

He said he speaks frequently at elementary schools and sees this change there, too. “It really touches you deeply to see the parents of the children, many of them around 30 years old, have been raised to know that when veterans come home you greet them warmly," he said “And they pass that on to their children.”

Georgia Monahan, who volunteers for the Darien VFW and sits on the committee , was originally asked to paint the cornhole boards for an upcoming event.

Monahan said a son of one of the VFW members built the four cornhole boards, and the students were divided into four groups of four campers to decorate them. The boards still need to be shellacked before they can be delivered to the veterans, but Monahan has already shared photos of them with the VFW members.

“They were amazed. They were really touched and thought the kids just went above and beyond,” Monahan said.

The VFW members will visit the young artists Tuesday to inspect the boards up close and to present the kids with VFW certificates. “The messages are heartfelt. It’s nice to know we’re not forgotten,” Kraft said.

One of the messages on the boards goes beyond thanking the veterans and instructs them to go have some “well-deserved” fun.

“We can’t wait until the polyurethane is finished so we can play with them,” said Kraft.