When Yardley’s Girl Scout Troop 2036 was ready to work toward their Bronze Award, the twelve 11-year-old girls decided to beautify the Yardley Borough tot lot, the playground next to Buttonwood Park, with a mural. Vicki Czechowski, who has been their leader since they were in kindergarten, explained that the Bronze Award requires a troop to identify an issue in the community and devise a project that will address that issue, and most importantly, have lasting impact. It also requires a minimum of 20 hours of work.
The project’s first phase involved identifying needed improvements. In October 2021, the Scouts made observations of the signage, repairs needed on playground equipment, lack of shade, cleanliness, chipping paint on the back wall and on the pillars where the fence connects, and safety issues.
Their next step was to take photos and make PowerPoints mounted on a trifold board for their presentation to the Borough’s Parks and Recreation Board. Approving the project, the board made playground equipment repairs and planted a tree on the side closest to Buttonwood Park. Throughout the year, when the Scouts sold their cookies, they proudly told customers that monies earned would go toward the beautification project.
“The process taught them so much about making a lasting impact in their community and I’m proud of their efforts, commitment, and enthusiasm. I’m thrilled that they get to see the outcome of their efforts and the pride that it gives them,” says Vicki.
The Scouts chose the mural’s theme: their favorite childhood fairy tales. They were guided by Tony Napoli, veteran Pennsbury High School art department chair, who also oversaw the “Greetings From Yardley” mural in 2020.
The girls first drew pencil sketches of what they wanted to be included, then Tony came up with the design for the mural, with the familiar words, “Once Upon a Time” being a great way to pull everything together, along with the welcome banner. The girls did the hard work of priming the walls and coloring the characters. They began the mural after July 4th and completed it in three-and-a-half weeks.
Clever details are Little Red Riding Hood wearing a Girl Scout Troop 2036 sash (a clever idea from Tony’s wife, Shirlee) and one of the three little pigs holding a box of Thin Mint cookies. Rapunzel, Tinkerbells, dragons, even a unicorn witsparkle (a
baby unicorn) adorn a rainbow with Cinderella’s and other princesses’ castles off in the distance.
“It was fun seeing them go from the initial hard work of priming the wall to the more artistic use of colors and working [on the] characters [to make them] more detailed and refined. They enjoyed seeing their progress and that’s where their hard work paid off,” says Tony.
While Tony got praise for all his artistry for the PHS musicals and proms, he pointed out, “The work we did at PHS was mostly temporary, it changed each year. Designing and overseeing the murals, which are permanent, gives me great satisfaction.”
Akvile Montvilaite, president of Yardley Borough’s Recreation and Parks Board says, “The mural is so vibrant and inviting. Essentially the Board wants to continually update the equipment in the future because that is a continually loved area.”
PHOTO CAP: In front of their mural, members of Troop 2036, the artist and his staff, and members of Yardley Boro Parks & Rec Board, back row from left, Katy Freeman, Olivia Culley, Leslie Kliesh, Akvile Montvilaite, Gilberto Bosque, Victoria Czechowski, Joe Suter, and Tony Napoli; front row, Claire Hollner, Julite Young, Brooke Oyler, Ava Bosque, Ashlin Brady, Emma Czechowski, and Eva Haas. Not pictured are (Girl Scouts): Dilyn Elmore, Cayleigh Hopkins, Ariyanna Makhoul, Brielle Miller; and (Adults): Clarissa and Danny Makhoul.