Four teenage girls spent many hot days in the sun sanding and staining wood, replacing a small roof and even using power tools -- something they had never done before.
But they were determined to do whatever it took to make sure children had a safe place to play.
It was part of their Girl Scout Silver Award. Over the past year, four girls in Troop 121, ranging in age from 13 to 15, refurbished an old playground at Providence United Methodist Church for their project.
"It was hard to come up with ideas for the Silver Award because you have four different minds, but have to come up with just one idea," said 15-year-old Hannah Evelyn Cox. "And the project had to be sustainable. The trustees of the church are sustaining our project."
Cox said it was not going to be easy refurbishing the playground, but it was something the girls felt they were capable of doing.
Before the project could be started, there had to be a plan, which had to be approved by the Girl Scout Council and Providence Church trustees. And the project had to be done in a minimum of 40 hours. That was no problem for the girls because they put in a combined total of 230 hours.
After making their plan, the girls then had to purchase supplies for the project.
"We had to go to Lowe's and find the right kind of wood and see if it would go right with the playground," said Emma Faulk, 13. "I learned a lot about wood."
And they bought new swings to replace the old, dilapidated ones.
Troop co-leader Melanie Cox said a trip to Lowe's would last a pretty long time.
"The girls needed to know what kind of lumber to get, how many pieces they needed, how thick it had to be and what kind of bolts and sandpaper to get," she said. "All these little details they had to figure out."
After supplies were purchased, the real fun began.
It was a collaborative effort, Cox said.
"The main thing I did, I was the one up on the roof sanding and staining," she said. "Nobody else wanted to get on the ladder (that's how she got the job). I'm up there and it's 90 degrees outside. It was uncomfortable. That was the thing that was a struggle for the most part, the roof."
She said the project was challenging, but it pushed her and the other girls past their comfort zone.
Faulk painted and sanded wood and helped replace worn out swings.
"It was tedious and boring," she said. "And it gave me sore muscles.
"But it makes me feel happy that kids want to play on the new playground. And it makes me feel happy that they are having fun on it -- and it's safe."
The wood on the equipment was not the only thing that got stained.
"We stained a bunch of our clothes, old and new," said 13-year-old Emma Proctor. "I stained wood and rebuilt a roof on part of the playset that the swing and slide are attached to."
One thing she'll never forget about the project is when she was stained a little bench under part of the playset and got stuck.
"There are a lot of nooks and crannies that you've got to make sure that you stain," Proctor said. "So I was in a bunch of awkward positions just trying to stain every little bit. I got stuck right under the bench. I just kind of wiggled my way out. We dug the tire pieces (that provide flooring for the playground) and I just wiggled my way out."
Although the work was hard, Proctor felt pretty good when it was finished and she saw what she and the other girls had done.
"Knowing that we did this and accomplished it even though it was long and sometimes we did not think that we were going to get done feels good," she said. "We did a lot and I'm proud of it."
Sarah Benning, 14, said she had never done anything like this before.
"The part that was not so fun was sanding because it took a lot of time making the wood the right texture," she said. "But we were together as a troop and got closer together."
"Spending 70 hours together, you get to know quite a bit about each other," Proctor said.
And all four teenagers agreed that their most favorite part of the project was creating from scratch a colorful character board for the playground.
"We cut holes in plywood and painted it," Proctor said. "We painted flowers, two bumblebees and the sun in the left hand corner on the board. In the right-hand corner, we painted 'I am a child of God.' We wanted some color for the playground and something different and fun."
Of course, that was Cox's favorite part because she didn't have to climb a ladder to make it.
Troop co-leader Melanie Cox oversaw the Silver Award project.
"They used their cookie money to fund the project," she said. "They could have used that money for a trip or something else. But they put it back into the community. That was pretty neat that they chose to do that."
Mrs. Cox said all of the teenagers made a lot of sacrifices with their time, especially during the summer.
"It was a really big project and they took it a little bit further than they had to; they even planted plants around the playground.
"It made them grow because they had to work together to problem solve. They had to compromise on different ideas because they are four different personalities."
But through it all, the teenagers had a good attitude, Mrs. Cox said.
Because of the project. The Girl Scouts also learned how to work with some power tools, like a nail gun, hand sander and others.
All of this has helped prepare the girls for the real world, Mrs. Cox said.
"You work with different people and you do have to make compromises," she said. "It also taught them budgeting because they had to know how much all this was going to cost. And they learned to give back to the community. There were so many lessons. It was time well spent for the girls."
Throughout it all, they remained humble, though.
"The girls weren't just the only people who worked on the project," Proctor said. "The leaders were a big part of why we were able to finish it. Who drove us to go get supplies? Who did the business work behind it? Our leaders helped a lot."