By: Carleen Lattin, Troop Leader and National Council Delegate in Elmira
Girl Scouts in the Elmira Riverbanks recently took part in a ceremony to plant a tree in Elmira’s Grove Park as part of the Elmira’s 150th anniversary. The city will engrave a plaque to be placed by the tree that was planted. Another local troop, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 41358 had also purchased and planted a tree and had it planted in another city park, Wisner Park. The troop will have the girls and leaders names engraved. It was something that the city offered organizations. Select parks had suffered a lot of loss of trees due to wind damage or old age and this was a good way to replace some of the trees that were lost.
Having trees planted is a good symbol of growth. The girls can watch the trees grow over the years, just as they will grow and mature over the years. The city had dug the hold ahead of time, the girls helped put dirt in the hole to cover it up. I remember one Daisy in my troop, who is normally shy, had the biggest smile on her face as she helped shovel some dirt into the hole. The proud moments when some of the older girls were asking if any of the girls knew the song “Make New Friends” before the tree planting ceremony, and some of my new Daisies proudly raised their hands.
For me, the culmination of the tree planting ceremony and already seeing the signs of traditions and experiences I am instilling in my new Daisies is exciting for me. We have only been a troop since the end of September. This was a personal new challenge, to lead a Daisy troop. I also have Cadettes and in the past have had Brownies and Juniors.
Just as this tree will grow and mature, I can also watch my Daisies grow and mature. Those shy Daisies by the time they are Brownies start to blossom into more confident girls. I have seen it happen over and over. Even at that tree planting, one girl who was previously a Daisy and is now a Brownie, I asked myself, “Is that the same girl?” because she was not as shy and withdrawn.
Every time you can make a connection, it makes that experience more valuable and worthwhile. You benefit in your confidence as a leader and the girls help make the world a better place.