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Girl Scouts capture spirit of Homewood in murals

Chloe Johnson10 (right) Breanne LeBlanc10 from Girl Scout Troop 60012 paint their piece mural Metrunderpass Homewood.  | Karen Gioi~

Chloe Johnson,10 (right) and Breanne LeBlanc,10, from Girl Scout Troop 60012 paint their piece of a mural in the Metra underpass in Homewood. | Karen Gioia ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 6, 2013 6:34AM



Commuters walking through the Metra underpass in Homewood now have some colorful reminders of “Home Sweet Homewood,” thanks to some creative Girl Scouts.

About 140 girls ranging in age from 5 to 17 and representing 14 Homewood Girl Scout troops painted murals reflecting a “Homewood is…” theme to honor their community.

Jenna Bostwick, 14, said Troop 60153 decided what “things we love about Homewood” to include in their mural depicting landmarks throughout the village.

Bostwick said the girls asked each other, “What’s the first thing you think about when you think of Homewood?” and decided on iconic places such as Willow Elementary School and the Irwin Fountain as some of their choices.

Other themes — “Willow Hill Friends and Family,” “The Dorband-Howe House,” “Parks and Lions Club Pool,” “Homewood Library” and “Homewood is Family” depict life as the Scouts see it and live it in their hometown.

The actual painting day was the culmination of months of planning and work, Rachael Bush Middleton, Sycamore Girl Scout Association chairwoman, said.

Bush Middleton said she “cooked up” the idea in the fall, initially as a way for the older girls to work together on a project. But when the younger scouts insisted they would be right for the project, too, Bush Middleton said it proved to be “a great way to bring all the levels in.”

She spoke to the troop leaders in October who then spent some time brainstorming a list of ideas to present to the scouts.

Robin Predny-Kalas, Troop 60560 leader, said the 10-year-old Scouts in her troop chose “Parades” as the theme from the troop leaders’ list of “all the different things we thought made Homewood a beautiful community to live in.”

The girls worked in pairs to come up with ideas for the mural and then, in true Girl Scout fashion, voted on which ones to use.

“They’re so excited about having something in the train station that they can come and see, and they are excited about being here together,” Predny-Kalas said.

It was a learning experience from start to finish. Once themes were chosen, the Scouts needed permission from the village to create the murals in the underpass. Each troop designed a presentation board with their drawing and proposal to pitch to village officials — valuable skills for all the young women, Bush Middleton said.

“The point is to find out what engages the girls and what they love to do and then let them lead and take ownership,” she said.

Chloe Johnson, 10, already a Girl Scout for half her life, summed it up as she worked on a “Homewood Loves Dogs” mural with her troop.

“The murals show the creativity of the Girl Scouts,” Johnson said. “It means that Homewood is a wonderful place to live.”

The murals will be viewed by visitors to Homewood’s 10th annual Railroad Heritage Day set for 3 to 9 p.m. May 19. Information about the event is at (708) 798-3000 or www.homesweethomewood.com.



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