Leadership skills aren’t something that sprout up overnight. They take a lot of nurturing. That’s where Girl Guides comes in. As our final girl-driven story contest winner, Guider Kelly shares how a community planting project was the perfect talent and leadership incubator for girls as they engaged their community.
When the Pathfinders and Rangers applied for a tree planting grant, they lovingly named their project ‘Love is a four-legged word.’ That’s because their chosen location was Bark Park in Blackfalds, a popular spot for local dogs and their owners. The girls applied for a tree planting grant in partnership with their sister units in Blackfalds, taking the lead to meet their programming requirements.
The local radio station caught wind of the girls’ intentions and the rest, as they say, is history! Everything changed with a meeting with the Town of Blackfalds. Hoping they would support the girls’ vision of planting 10 trees, the town was prepared with a counter offer – they wanted to contribute to the project and work in partnership with the girls. The town provided planting equipment and supplies and connected the girls with the town horticulturist.
The horticulturist supplied the girls with topographical maps as they planned the landscape design and arranged for a private tour of a nursery, giving thems a behind the scenes look at the tricks of the trade. Girls learned about planting zones, soil conditions, and details about which trees and shrubs could handle the high levels of alkaline caused from the dogs who use the park for their bathroom breaks.
On the day of the ‘Big Plant’, the town dug the holes and prepared the site and siblings came out to help, too. We even met a few happy puppies who joyfully ran around testing out their new digs.
One of the best things that came out of this event was the strengthened partnership with the Town of Blackfalds and our community members. The project was an amazing opportunity for our Guiding units to show the community just what our girls are capable of. Girls in Guiding give back to the community in ways most do not see and the project allowed girls to contribute back to the town that supports them. All of the girls’ hard work was validated for them by the amazing and supportive feedback they received from the residents of Blackfalds.
Thank you to Kelly Thiessen from Alberta for sharing this story. She receives a prize pack for her winning story.