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Building a Garden for Learning to Grow

Nov 28, 2011

While half of a troop in Plano, Texas decided to devote their Silver Award project to tutoring kids in an after school program, the other half spent their time building a learning garden to teach younger kids about plants.

The garden area before the project.

The process of splitting the troop into two projects reflected the girl’s longstanding ability to make decisions as a group and meet the needs of each troop member. “Everyone had a homework assignment to find a place they might want to help and then we narrowed it down to three or four places that we toured,” said troop member Jessica Martinez. “We then voted on which ones we wanted to help, and it just worked out that we wanted to help two different places.”

Once the decisions about the organizations were made, the girls began planning the project. For the garden group, the goal was to build a garden at a learning center that could be used to teach the students. “We divided the tasks and did a bunch of pre-planning,” said troop member Sara McRae. “It was pretty easy to coordinate and we worked well together because we have worked together for a long time.”

The completed garden.

The girls visited the learning center a second time to meet with the teachers and get a sense for the space. When they came back the next time, it was to build the planters for the garden. “That was a long, hard day and it kind of got exhausting,” said Jessica. “We were able to encourage each other and pick each other back up again and again by focusing on who we were doing this for – we were motivated to finish so that the next time we could work with the kids in the garden.”

When the planters were finished, the girls came back to teach the kids about gardening, where the hours of planning and building paid off. “I loved helping all of the kids,” said Sara. “We showed them how to plant and water and we pointed out the different vegetables. I felt very excited and happy that we were making the facility more inspirational for the kids.”

The hands on experience with the kids also taught the girls lessons. “It was an awakening for me because the kids are so grateful for every little thing we do for them,” said Jessica. “We provided them with garden gloves and one kid even slept with them on so he would be able to plant the next day.”

“Even though they are young and have a limited understanding of gardening, we could tell it touched them and it was meaningful to them to have us there,” said Sara, adding, “I just think it’s really important to know how much the smallest things like this inspire kids and make their lives a little brighter.”

You can read about the other the Silver Award project completed by the other half of this troop here.