Hudson -- The grounds of East Woods Elementary School were invaded by a successful conquering army Oct. 13.
Weaponry of the 50-member team included trash bags, rakes, paint brushes and work gloves as Girl Scout Troop 207 led a group of friends and family members into a foray against decay. The group was on a mission to spruce up the playground area, which included raking leaves, weeding and fresh coats of paint on the basketball and four square courts.
The "Spruce up the Playground" event was part of a troop service project.
"The troop is working to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest honor a junior Girl Scout can receive," according to Angela Rosenberg, whose daughter, Caitlyn, is a member of the troop. "One requirement is to identify a community need and create an action plan, all in an effort to make the world a better place."
The "Spruce up the Playground" project fit the award requirements, Rosenberg said.
"The fourth- and fifth-grade girls devised a plan to weed the playground area, paint basketball keys under the existing basketball hoops and repaint the four-square lines," Rosenberg added. "They created posters and advertised on the school's morning video announcements to encourage other students to join their efforts."
"Many family members of the troop came to help," Rosenberg said.
The troop has also been learning about the use of energy, including their bodies and the foods eaten, and the amount of exercise performed, and why it is important to conserve and recycle.
"The leaders of Troop 207 came up with the idea, but the troop is girl led, so we let them decide if they wanted to do it," according to Laura Jones, one of the three troop leaders.
Jones said. "As soon as they heard the idea, they were totally on board and excited and it was a way to improve their school and a playground is a great space for kids to use energy and exercise."
Other troop leaders include Natasha Niklas and Sue Swain.
Rosenberg's daughter, Caitlyn, 10, liked the project.
"I did a lot actually. I raked up the leaves a lot and I pulled some weeds," Caitlyn said. "It was very fun with everybody there, especially with all my friend there."
East Woods Principal Paul Milcetich and Custodian Rick Scott were also among the 50 who wielded rakes and shovels, spray cans and brooms to get the job done.
"I believe part of what makes Hudson great is the partnership between the families and the schools… the Spruce Up the Playground event was a great example of that type of collaboration," Milcetich said.
Troop members are also painting a banner which will be hung at Lock 3 in downtown Akron promoting the holiday season.
"This project really empowered the girls," Jones said of the playground spruce-up.
"They felt like they really made a difference and were proud of what they did. We want people to know that 10 and 11-year-olds can be leaders and make a difference in their community."