GREENE — Greene High School senior Kylie Griffin has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award for installing a reflection garden at the First United Methodist Church in Greene. A dedication ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 13 at the church, located at 32 South Chenango Street in Greene.
To earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouts must choose a project to plan and implement that will help their community, according to Kylie's mother Jennifer Griffin.
“It’s quite the drawn out process because they have to do a proposal to the Girl Scout Council, then they have to find a team to work with, and carry it out,” she said. “She's been working on this for over a year.”
Kylie has been in the Girl Scouts for 14 years, starting out as a Daisy. In that time, she has earned both the Bronze and Silver Awards, and in August of 2021 began going for Gold. Griffin said the focus of her project was on improving mental health in the Greene area in the wake of the pandemic.
“With COVID and everything, she knew that mental health was in trouble. So she wanted to do something positive to promote positive mental health in Greene. So talking to our pastor at church, the pastor said that she always wanted a prayer box out front,” said Griffin.
The garden serves as a quiet space residents and visitors can take a moment to pause and relax on the provided bench. Additionally, the prayer box contains pens, pencils, slips of paper, and prayer cards for individuals to write down both prayers and worries to deposit into the box.
“If someone was walking by they could sit on the bench and they could write their prayer down, or their concern, and they can put it in the prayer box, there’s a little slit,” Griffin explained. “The only one that has the key is our pastor, so she’s the only one that’s allowed to get in there. It could be confidential, or if the person wanted to they could write down their phone number and name so they could be contacted.”
“It’s right out front. A lot of people walk past that every day, so it’s very accessible to the community and whoever visits Greene,” she added.
Griffin said with the help of a middle school teacher, Kylie built both the prayer box and bench herself using donated wood. To complete the garden, Kylie along with a group of volunteers dug out an approximately nine by nine feet square to place pavers.
Individuals then had the opportunity to purchase the pavers and have them engraved with prayers, names, and positive messages.
“We came up with the idea to sell these engraved pavers with positive messages on them, or names, or in memory of, or with family names. But a lot of them have positive quotes or mantras, like the serenity prayer is there,” she said.
The pavers, which were donated by the Greene Class of 1980, helped to offset the costs of installing the garden, as selling them allowed Kylie to provide food to volunteers, as well as thank you cards and plaques.
A dedication ceremony for the reflection garden will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 13 at the First United Methodist Church, located at 32 South Chenango Street in Greene. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the church's social hour after Sunday mass, and the public is invited to attend.
Griffin said Kylie will explain what the reflection garden is and her process for creating it, and will also be playing guitar alongside a relative who wrote a song specifically for the garden, titled “Reflections.” Following their performance will be an address and dedication by the First United Methodist Church Pastor.
Moving forward, the church will take over upkeep and maintenance of the reflection garden. Additionally, Griffin said the Greene Class of 1980 has also opted to donate money every year to assist with maintenance costs.