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Scouts give Cranberry Township snowplows a brighter look

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Dona S. Dreeland | Cranberry Journal
These four volunteers from Troop 20492 completed their plow design in a few hours. They began with a Girl Scout-green base color. They are, from left, Bailyn Bench, Michelle Putney, Melissa Karidis and Amy Hines.
Dona S. Dreeland | Cranberry Journal
Scouts from Troop 20492 spent a few hours one evening painting a snow plow blade at Cranberry Township’s Public Works Building. Having planned the design, they used their old finger-painting skills to color their slogan: “Girl Scouts is the right path.” The activity was held during National Public Works Week. Intent on their artistry are, from front, Melissa Karidis and Amy Hines.
Dona S. Dreeland | Cranberry Journal
The girls, from left, clockwise, Amy Hines, Michelle Putney and Michelle Karidis, discuss whether to the snow woman should wear a Girl Scout sash.
Girl Scouts from Troop 20492 stand behind their painted snow plow after an evening’s work. They are, from left, Aurelie Gallagher, Michelle Putney, Melissa Karidis, Abbey White, Amy Hines and Bailyn Bench.
Members of Troop 21525, from left, Sarah Widenhofer, Mia Palermo, Rebecca Loeffler, Elizabeth Bittner, Katie Yanez, Erin Salancy, Ellen Casey, Rachel Rafferty and Kaylee Roberts, finished up their tribute to Girl Scout cookies.

Few people think of snow on warm spring evenings, but that wasn't the case for Girl and Boy Scout troops in Cranberry during National Public Works Week, May 19 to 25.

Troops created designs for snow plow blades and came ready to paint the curved surfaces. When they were through, the heavy metal reflected scouting themes and pride in their organizations. Their messages will be bright and clear when the first big snow falls.

Taking part this year were 40 Boy Scouts from Troop 403 and 48 girls from Troops 25141, 20880, 21525, 24126, 20135 and 20492

“Girls are much neater painters,” said Jason Dailey, director of public works, who supervised each session. “On Monday evening, the boys were covered in paint.”

In about two hours, troops transformed the plows in layers of oil-based paint designs both simple and elaborate.

When the paint dries, each blade will be covered with a protective coating of polyurethane by the public works staff. The designs can last at least two years — depending on how mild the winter is.

This is the fourth time the township has encouraged young artistry, Dailey said. In previous years, Haine Middle and Rowan Elementary School students were able to showcase their school pride.

For $300 in painting supplies, pizza and beverages, the Scout turnout was good.

Four members from Troop 20494 — Bailyn Bench, Michelle Putney, Melissa Karidis and Amy Hines — led by Christine Bench, came to the public works shed eager to begin. The light rain didn't matter. They had arrived at their theme: “Girl Scouts is the right path to take.”

“That's because we're paving the way,” said Amy Hines, who started with the Brownies years ago.

The 10th-graders, all 16-year-olds from Cranberry, began with a base coat of Girl-Scout green. From there, they moved on to finger painting their slogan, adding sun and flowers on one side and snowflakes on the other. In the center, the girls' snow woman wore a Girl Scout sash.

The girls volunteered to make their Troop's name known in whatever Cranberry neighborhood the plow would do its work. In all, there are 40 troops in the Cranberry area with more than 700 parents and girls registered, explained Bench, who has led her group for 10 years.

“I like painting,” said Karidis, as she placed a bright sun in one corner of the plow.

In addition to class work and extracurricular activities at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School, all four Scouts are working on their Gold Awards.

That is equal to the projects to become an Eagle Scout.

Putney hopes to design an activity to help children in a hospital.

Bench is teaching art classes at a boys shelter. After an art show is held in the township municipal building, the art will be framed and hung on the shelter's walls.

Karidis is working on a program to help combat child obesity. She hopes to present it to parents at a local preschool.

Hines is preparing a video documentary about children with disabilities. She hopes it will change people's attitudes about developmental disorders.

“My sister has autism, and it has affected me,” she said.

The Gold Award follows the silver and bronze ones. Each project encourages leadership and creates an opportunity to solve a community problem.

The girls have until their senior year to complete the work.

The snow plow project was an opportunity to brighten the streets of the township on gray winter days and to connect with community.

“Our time in Girl Scouts is a time to do good things,” Hines said, summing it up in true Scout fashion.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or

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