My Girl Scout Gold Award Project

My Gold Award is called "Hillside Park Restoration" and it is best described in my proposal paperwork as follows:

The issue I plan to address is park safety. People tend to think that no one does much maintenance for the park after it’s built. Well, they’re wrong! It takes a lot of work to keep a park in good shape and safe! Hillside Park is right down the street from my house. I've spent a lot of time there since I was really little. Darren said that the perfect time to refurbish the playground equipment is in August, because no one is using the park because it’s just too hot out! But that’s perfect paint drying weather! I plan to get volunteers to help refurbish the playground equipment. And I will raise awareness about playground safety and maintenance by putting articles in newspapers, town journals, on websites, anywhere that I can about things like: how to help keep your park safe, why maintenance is important and why playgrounds are painted with so many colors.

The main components are:

Working at the park: Scraping old paint off the playground equipment, sanding all the equipment so that it's rough and will be receptive to new paint, repainting the equipment, (two coats of paint) and spreading mulch around to bottom of the equipment.

Awareness about playground safety and maintenance: Writing articles about playground safety and maintenance by putting articles in newspapers, town journals, on websites, anywhere that will accept them.

Below are the daily updates of the work at the park.

Day one:

Day one at the park started with me taking a trip to meet with my contact from the DPW. He is the person who I spoke with to make this project happen, and we went over when I'm going to be working, what I'm going to be doing, etc. We decided that today was just going to be scraping and sanding because of the possibility of rain later. Once all my helpers for the day arrived, we began to work. We scraped all the paint off the equipment that was willing to come off and we sanded every surface that we possibility could that day, which was most of it. This is really hard work! Being out in the August heat scraping paint off playground equipment really makes you sweat and get tired! We took tons of water breaks and still were incredibly tired by the time we went back to my house for lunch. Then we went back to the park and met more helpers! Then we continued scraping and sanding until it was time to go home. By then, we were realizing just how much work we had gotten ourselves into. We all got covered in paint dust today!

Day two:

Today we used the divide and conquer approach. Rather then everyone scraping/sanding or painting, one person was sent to do the little bit of scraping/sanding while the rest of us painted. We started off with the little slide, which went from a incredibly faded red to an amazing bright blue! So far, we absolutely love the new colors! While a few people worked on the little slide, the other few people worked on the small swing set. Bright yellow (like liquid sunshine!) on the top, the two poles got painted orange, (it looked like melted cheddar cheese!) two got painted a bright ruby red and two got painted blue! Everyone is thrilled with these colors! At this point, the green is feeling pretty left out, :( so we decided that when it comes to painting the big slide, it's going to be entirely green. :) Today, we all got covered in paint! I got a ton of blue paint in my hair! By the way, playground paint doesn't like to come out of your hair!

Day three:

Third day in a row = not many of us really wanted to get out of bed early and be working all day in the heat. But we all made it! We started out painting the large swing set. Red across the top and each set of two poles got a color. Green, Yellow, Blue then Orange. When we opened the green paint, we were ecstatic! The old dark forest green color that was on the equipment was what we were expecting, but when we opened the can we found a fantastic bright green that made us all really happy! Playgrounds look so much better in bright colors! Today we had lunch at the park. (fried chicken!!!) After lunch a couple people stayed at the large swing set to finish that while the rest of us went back to the small swing set and little slide and put a second coat of paint on that. We found out that putting a second coat of paint on the equipment takes much less time then the first! Today I got orange in my hair, but much less paint then yesterday! (Which is still in my hair!)

Day four:

We got to take a break all day yesterday! Then we go right back into working! Today, a couple of us put a second coat of paint on the large swing set, while the rest worked on the big slide, which got painted all green. Today was slightly shorter, but still a ton of hard work. I also came up with a fantastic yet super complicated idea on how to paint the teeter-totters when we get to the next work day. We'll see what happens... Today I managed to get yellow paint in my hair as well, so that makes three colors. My brother looks like he tried turning into the hulk! It helps that he is big and strong!

Day five:
It's Tuesday because it rained on Monday. We put a second coat of paint on the large slide and painted the teeter-totters. Today this adorable 3 year old boy (Jack) and his Dad even helped us! Jack just started following my Mom around everywhere and he and his Dad even helped weed! It was so adorable!

Day six:
It's Thursday. We worked in the morning early because my family had a 4-H Golf outing. We spread as much mulch as possible today, which was both swing sets and we have piles at both slides.

Day seven:
It's Friday, the last day! Today we started out spreading mulch around the slides, and once the truck showed up with more we spread it around the teeter-totters, trees, one of those trucks on a giant spring and this weird looking thing for climbing that looks like Swiss cheese. Then we put a second coat of paint on the teeter-totters. By then we were all hungry so we headed back to my house for lunch. Once we came back the teeter-totters were dry enough to do a really cool drip design! We dipped the paint brush in paint, waited until it was coming off in a really fine stream, then help the brush over the seats and moved them so that the drips made a cool pattern! Check out the pictures!

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