Cold rain blew in sideways and pelted Reagin, her parents and several volunteer helpers as they balanced the heavy wooden board and secured it in place.
In the background, the Sidney Lanier bridge rose high above the group. When the board had been drilled in tight and the cover removed, everyone stood back to admire the handiwork.
For Reagin Hanna, a senior-level Girl Scout from Brunswick, it was a moment of relief.
A year’s worth of work hung, completed, before her.
Reagin has earned her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, by creating a 7,000-piece mural of the Sidney Lanier bridge, now on display in the park at the foot of the bridge.
“I’ve been working on it since last November,” said Reagin, 15.
The Gold Award, which few Girl Scouts earn, recognizes young women who demonstrate extraordinary leadership skills and exemplary work ethic. The year-long process takes hundreds of hours.
First, each scout must complete two prerequisite “journeys,” which include several educational components. Then, she must research and propose a project idea.
“The application is pretty in-depth,” said Laura Pittman, Reagin’s project mentor and a member of the Gold Award committee. “They have to speak with the Gold Award committee to have their project approved.”
In the proposal, Reagin had to outline how the project would be funded, what it would entail and how it would benefit the community. It also had to be sustainable, meaning its benefit would continue beyond Reagin’s involvement.
“The biggest component of it is the leadership focus, because she has to take leadership on this,” Pittman said.
Reagin chose to incorporate her artistic talent into her Gold Award project. She created a multicolored mural of the bridge, based on her own drawing.
“I’d done these tiny mosaics when I was little, and I wanted to do a bigger one,” she said. “I took a picture of the bridge with this app on my phone that makes it into a mosaic.”
The positive feedback Reagin received from that photo inspired her to create a larger version that the entire community could enjoy.
The display also includes signage that educates viewers’ on the bridge’s environmental impact, history and engineering structure.
“I think the biggest reason that this went through is because Brunswick is a small town, so we don’t have a lot of museums,” said Judy Hanna, Reagin’s mom. “So if you go to bigger cities you see public art around … but we don’t have that here.”
The mural’s completion date coincided with CoastFest this weekend, when thousands will stream through the park and be able to see Reagin’s recent contribution.
The mural’s beauty and purpose will be enjoyed long after the festival, though, Pittman said.
“It has to meet a community need … and in this case art is a need,” she said.