Girl Power Profile: Meredith Owen
By Maura Aleardi

One of Meredith Owen’s best memories of grade school is the time she spent playing games in the schoolyard. At her elementary school – Elwood Kindle in Pitman – games like foursquare and hopscotch were painted onto the blacktop. Owen says many of her best childhood memories were made on that blacktop.
But last year, Owen, now 15, found out all the games were gone ever since the blacktop had been re-paved. A Girl Scout since first grade, she got to work and set out to bring back the fun at her old school. She recruited her Girl Scout troop, and they repainted the blacktop, adding a map of the United States, lines for a basketball court, foursquare and hopscotch.

“I decided to let the students play again,” she says.

Owen completed this service project for her Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The award is given to girls who complete service in their community. Owen received a medal for her Silver Award, and is making plans for her Gold Award, the highest a girl scout can receive.

To raise money for the project, Owen and her troop made and sold s’mores jars filled with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate at craft fairs and schools, including Elwood Kindle. They raised about $400, and Sherwin Williams of Pitman donated paint and supplies.

The Girl Scouts created the stencils they would and did all the work themselves. The project took a full day, and Owen says she was overwhelmed remembering all the happy times she spent on the very same blacktop she was repainting.

“It was just a lot of memories of being on that blacktop and playing on it, and hoping the kids will enjoy it,” she says.

While Owen and her friends were refurbishing the school’s playground, Owen says she was excited to picture the students using the new games.

“I was thinking about how the little kids would react once they could get out there and exercise, not just sit around,” she says. “One little girl told me she just loves the new playground. She says there’s a lot more to play on.”

“I felt really old,” she adds, “but I felt good to help out.”

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