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Girl Scouts Plant Meditation Garden in Memory of Lakewood Team Member

Baylee Huber-Cohen, Kelly Poole, Jadyn Sutton and fellow Girl Scouts from Troop 5365 have been helping Lakewood residents wrap Christmas presents for the past four years. So, when the trio decided they wanted to work towards the Silver Award, partnering with the community seemed like a perfect fit.

“If you do 50 hours of community service you get a badge and a medal,” said Jadyn. “It’s nice to have and we can help the community while we’re improving our resume.”

In fact, the Silver Award is one of the highest in Girl Scouting that charges Girl Scout Cadettes to team up with a small group of friends, find an issue they care about locally and work together to make a difference in that community.

“We identified the need for more outdoor spaces, particularly during the pandemic. So, we wanted to do a meditation garden. We just saw a need for quiet, outdoor reflection spaces,” Kelly said.

The Lakewood team had plans to create a community garden, so when the scouts approached Lakewood’s Community Outreach Liaison Sally San Soucie about the project she was thrilled.

“Sadly, the Lakewood team lost one of our own last year. Karla Adair was our independent living program coordinator and she passed away in May of 2021. We are going to place a memorial bench near to the beehive that she lovingly tended to for years,” Sally said. “Continuing to honor her with a meditation garden seemed fitting.”

Throughout the months of August and September, the girls worked on the garden, beginning by clearing the existing space.

“We wanted to brighten up the space, especially during COVID, so we planted flowers that can be appreciated during the spring. We chose plants that encourage pollinators because of the bees that are housed there. So, our focus was to better the existing area and introduce color into the space,” Baylee said.

Kelly expected the planting to be a lot more difficult, but thanks to the help of the Lakewood landscaping team and Baylee’s parents, who own a landscaping company, the project didn’t feel like work.

“We learned a lot about native plants and pollinators,” Jadyn said. “I thought it was also great that we could get outside and do it together as a team.”

“The girls worked really hard to make this a very special place for our residents and team members,” Sally said.

The girls, who are each in ninth grade, have been a team for many years already. They’ve been involved with the Girl Scouts since first grade. Projects like this one are why they continue to participate.

“It’s nice to feel like you’re doing something good,” Kelly said. “It’s enjoyable to see the ways that your good deeds have benefited the areas where you live. Some of us might have family members who live at Lakewood one day, so it’s nice to see how we could impact the residents.”

The girls left behind a book with information about the native plants in the garden. It can be found in the garden mailbox for those who utilize the space or who would like to volunteer to water the plants in the spring. Though the girls are proud of their achievement, and maybe a little tired too, they are looking ahead to the next project. The next badge they could take on would be the Gold Award which entails 100 hours of community service.

“I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to do the Gold Award just because it is a lot, but if we do it, I’m sure we’ll do something outdoors again,” explained Kelly.

This article was first published in LifeSpire of Virginia’s Community Matters magazine. Check out the rest of the e-book version online: