The mission of the Girl Scouts is, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” For two girls from the Hicksville Association Troop 3362, they took that mission and made it a reality.
Girl Scouts Reagan and Shannon, in completing their last year of juniors, set out to earn their Girl Scout Silver Award. The award is given to a group of scouts who set out “to make a part of your community better,” explained Reagan.
The girls first identified how they would better their community after going on a community service visit with their Girl Scout troop to A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale.
“The outdoor surroundings in the government-ran facility were poor and unstable,” said Reagan. “They were in need of outdoor seating and structurally there were several safety concerns. The concrete walkways and paths and blacktop were uneven and broken, increasing the residents’ risk for injury.”
While the girls didn’t have the budget to repave the facility’s concrete and blacktop, A. Holly Patterson completed the renovation of all walkways, paths and blacktop in the outdoor common area after the troop expressed their concerns.
Taking on their own improvement initiative, Reagan and Shannon decided they would focus on outdoor recreation and set out on their project, “A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility Outdoor Beautification Project.”
Through research, the duo learned that a colorful, structured garden can have a beneficial impact on the depressed elderly and patients with dementia. Horticultural Therapy, as it is called, can bring about improved mood, contentment, anxiety relief, and improved sleeping and physical activity.
“Our main focus and accomplishment was to remodel a large, existing overgrown garden by enhancing it through color, design, placement of new plants, removal of weeds, shaping existing bushes and mulch,” said Reagan.
Using funds raised by donations and significant collection of bottles and cans for five-cent returns, the girls made several trips to present the care facility with all-weather picnic tables, plants, mulch and tools.
“We were so happy for the residents at the facility. So many people thanked us several times. It was amazing to see the few things we accomplished were so appreciated,” Reagan mused.
While Reagan and Shannon will not be continuing Girl Scouts, they will be returning to A. Holy Patterson to “be involved with anything that can improve their surroundings or to enhance their recreational options in the future.”