When Cadette Girl Scouts Kaylee Hilbers and Kaitlin Mundil were tasked with coming up with a project for to earn a Silver Award, which is one of the highest a Cadet Girl Scout can receive, the pair decided to improve their hometown park.
“There’s a bunch of softball games here throughout the summers and little siblings are always brought along — but they don’t really have much to do besides the playground,” Hilbers said of Uehling Park. “So we thought if we gave them more to do they would come more often and enjoy being here more, too.”
So, with the help of a $1,500 grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation, the pair of eighth-graders went to work this past summer.
“We needed about 50 hours to earn the Silver Award, and we definitely surpassed that,” Mundil said.
They started in the spring and worked throughout the summer doing things to improve Uehling Park.
Hilbers and Mundil began by painting a pickle ball court, repainting the park’s basketball court and four-square game.
They also spruced up the park by way of planting flowers near the entrance sign and pulling weed after weed in the “Stone Garden,” which is featured further back in the park by a concession stand.
But the biggest addition made by the girls was the addition of two benches near the playground equipment.
The two, six-foot perforated steel benches were purchased with grant money they received from FACF and the girls hope they last a long time.
Both heavy gauge, powder-coated steel frame benches have contour seats with thermal properties that help make the seats feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
While the FACF grant paid for the benches, the $1,500 didn’t quite cover shipping so the Uehling Area Business Club also chipped in to the project.
When it came to actually placing in the park, the girls had to make their case in front of the Uehling Village Board for approval.
“I thought it was going to be bad and scary, but when I walked in I realized I knew most of the people,” Hilbers said. “They were really supportive.”
When it was all said and done, the girls received approval for their project and the City of Uehling agreed to cover the cost of the cement, mounting and labor that was required for the placement of the benches.
Both girls are very thankful for the generosity of the Fremont Area Community Foundation, along with the assistance from the Uehling Area Business Club, and the City of Uehling with the help they received for the project.
“We couldn’t have done it without all of the support,” Hilbers said.
The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award girls can earn in Girl Scouting, and the highest award attainable at the middle school level.
To earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, recipients must complete a leadership project that exceeds 50 hours with a lasting and sustainable impact on their community. The Silver Award helps girls build skills, explore careers, gain leadership skills, while making a commitment to self-improvement.