Earn Award Through Community Service
WHEATLAND, CA (MPG) – At the end of 2015, Wheatland Girl Scout Troop 856/2631 finished their Girl Scout Silver Award! This troop consists of Iris Bookholtz, Grace Stillwell, Lauren Rohde, Emily Loutzenhiser, and leader Amelia Oliver.
In order to earn this award, the girls needed to assess the community and then each complete 50 hours of community service. They selected to help a local domestic violence safe house, Casa Esperanza. To start the project, they learned about this shelter and about the services they provide.
They learned that there are many forms of domestic violence, such as physical, psychological, sexual, financial, cyber bullying, stalking, and others. They learned about the ways teens their own age are affected by violence and how it is much more common than they would have imagined. They realized that many of these victims feel helpless and feel they have nowhere to go.
So they decided to build garden boxes and plant trees at the property. They felt this type of project would help the residents of Casa Esperanza become independent and relieve stress as well as make the center more beautiful and private. Gardening is proven to help reduce stress and improve health.
This project ended up being a good choice for the cadettes as individuals because it gave each one the opportunity to be leaders in separate roles. They divided tasks such as planning meetings, project organization, marketing, fundraising, shopping, and designing the boxes. Each found an area of strength but overall enjoyed planting the trees and the actual building of the boxes the best; the sawing and nailing.
After trial and error they ended up making three garden boxes and planting two saucer magnolia trees. They built, painted, and sealed the wooden boxes over several weeks and then installed the boxes and trees over two days. They filled the boxes with soil and planted some starter plants.
The troop raised $600 through cash donations. They used the money to buy building supplies, trees, and gardening supplies to leave at the shelter. They were fortunate to have supply donations as well: Wheatland Ace Hardware donated two cans of paint, Yuba City Home Depot donated one tree and mulch, and Vermicrop Organics donated all the soil for boxes.
At the end the troop still had money left over, so they asked Casa Esperanza for their wish list. They were able to provide them with a few items on the list, specifically toothbrushes and deodorant. These are the items most requested from clients.
They believe the project will continue to benefit the residents of Casa Esperanza. The troop explained that the beauty of the project is that the client has total freedom in what they want to plant and when. No one will tell them what to do, or how to care for it. This project will continue to make a difference because no matter who stays or leaves or if the plants die, they will always be able to start over.
This project helped the Girl Scout Troop become more aware of the issues that victims of domestic violence face. Through their efforts they hope the community will also become more aware and involved in helping these individuals and families.
Source: Amelia Oliver, Troop Leader