By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
CHERRY VALLEY – Girl Scouts, Bailey Thayer and Zola Palmer are making a difference in their community.
When brainstorming service project ideas, the fourth and fifth-grade juniors suggested improving the village playground behind the Cherry Valley Community Center – formerly the Cherry Valley School – by adding more equipment.
Specifically, Zola is excited to add spinners to the current equipment. “I like to spin,” she said.
Bailey is looking forward to adding a handicapped swing to the mix. “There are not many in the area, and we have kids in our school that are disabled and are wheelchair-bound. I think it would be nice to have options locally for them to play on a playground,” she said.
“We plan to interview local kids that have disabilities to see what would help the playground be better for them,” Zola added.
“We realized that there weren’t many people in Cherry Valley,” Zola said. “We decided to improve the playground so that more families would come to the village and might support the local businesses in Cherry Valley.”
“We started by thinking of things that Cherry Valley needed, and things that might draw attention and visitors to Cherry Valley. We thought about things that would make Cherry Valley more fun to bring kids and families to town, and bring more business to downtown.
The troop set out on the venture in having two hot cocoa and mulled cider events in which they raised $250 for the project.
Since then, the girls – with the help of Zola’s mom and the troop’s project leader Angelica Gosiewska Palmer and Bailey’s mom and the troop’s leader Ginger Thayer – set up a GoFundMe form for the mission.
In the description, the troop writes, “We hope to be able to add a handicap accessible swing and a ninja course, and maybe some other equipment too. We want to help our community members stay active, fit and healthy, and we want to provide an area for the handicapped children in our area to play as well.”
Completing this project would help propel the troop towards a bronze medal – the highest honor a junior troop can reach – further setting them up for future silver and gold medals.
“We don’t receive anything from the national organization for earning a bronze award,” Ginger said.
“It does make the girls eligible to earn their Silver Award and Gold Award as they progress through Girl Scouts. Earning a Bronze Award is a tremendous amount of work, and teaches the girls valuable lessons about organizing and planning a project, and understanding all of the steps that are involved to see a project completed,” she continued.
“When I first heard about their project,” Ginger said, “I was amazed at what vision these two young girls have. The excitement and enthusiasm was contagious. I am so proud of both Zola and Bailey.”
As of 12 p.m. on Jan. 13 – prior to their meeting with Parkitects staff and the village board – the GoFundMe has raised more than $1,800, bringing their to-date total up to $2,075 of their $5,000 goal.
Since then, the girls have managed to raise an additional $150.
Project Manager KJ O’Connor was “was very impressed with the girls’ presentation and will be helping them plan the project moving forward,” according to Angelica.
The presentation to the village board was also approved and according to Angelica, “The village board is very supportive and excited about the project.”
The page also includes a survey to be presented to the Village Board and community members are asked to make their voices heard.
The girls, with the help of their troop leaders, are hoping to pursue a number of grants, helping to propel the project from their desired date of completion – summer 2022.
If you are interested in donating to the project, responding to the community forum and/or volunteering please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-cherry-valley-girl-scout-playground-project