For Girl Scout Troop # 1302, the goal of their Hedden House Landscape Project was twofold. This group of 12 and 13-year-old girls has been meeting and working together since they were in kindergarten. They have accomplished several community projects in the past, such as visiting nursing homes and hosting parties for homeless children. For three consecutive years, the Troop has hosted a Halloween Pizza Party for the children at the Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville. In 1998, their leaders and scouts felt it was time for the troop to participate in larger, more meaningful, community projects, such as the Hedden House project.
The project began when one of the scouts heard about the need for cleaning up the Hedden House, a halfway facility for female recovering drug addicts. She in turn informed her fellow scouts, who agreed that this would be a good project for them. The girls were then able to fund their project through a Youth as Resources grant of $1,350. In addition to this grant, the girls sold cookies to generate an additional $200 for the project. Each of the girls in Troop #1302 had just graduated from the Drug Awareness Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.). The troop leaders knew that the girls had learned all about drug abuse but believed that the interaction with the residents of Hedden House would give them more firsthand knowledge.
In this informal setting, the Hedden House residents shared, freely, about their lives and the recovery process. Even during their lunch together, the girls asked questions and listened attentively to these women’s addiction stories. Plans for landscaping of the Hedden House grounds were developed by the Girl Scouts, with assistance from Lucy Pope, Hedden House Assistant Director and Bob Volpert, owner of Ward’s Landscape. Girl Scout Troop #1302 was awarded first place in the city’s Make a Difference Day Contest on October 24, 1998 for their work.
The young Girl Scouts learned and acquired many life-long skills from this experience, such as organizing a project, funding it through grant writing, interviewing, and carrying out a community project. The greatest benefit, however, was the social contact they made working side by side with the residents of the Hedden House. The girls of Troop #1302 are currently doing follow-up projects, such as raking leaves, and are already planning what seeds to plant next May.