Troop 487’s Juniors, Amber, Angelica, Aramina, MacKenzie, Madison, Taylor, and T’Shira, decided to address the issue of bullying in schools for their Bronze Award project. Their sister-Brownies– Jovana, Kelly, and Storm– assisted as well! After lots of brainstorming, the girls decided to make seven buddy benches to foster kindness and inclusion and provide a safe place for kids to go when they are lonely, need someone to talk to, or aren’t sure how to ask to join in a game. They put them on the playgrounds of each girl’s school in Mesa.
Most of us have, at some point, experienced being new at school, fighting with friends, or feeling shy. This was Troop 487’s inspiration for making a change so that other kids wouldn’t have to navigate those feelings alone. Their passion for this topic helped them stay motivated and ultimately complete the Take Action project for their Bronze Award.
The girls got started by putting together a plan. They researched designs, supply costs, and community partners to utilize. They talked to each of their principals to get permission to place the benches and specific paint color requests. When they knew the project could move forward, they estimated material expenses to decide which bench design would be the most cost efficient yet functional.
These resourceful leaders ultimately decided to order bench kits from The Home Depot and talked to their local store manager to get the wood at a discounted rate! They also spoke to the manager at their local Ace Hardware store who donated six gallons of paint for the benches!
Luckily, the girls had access to a workshop to build the benches. One girl’s dad took time to show the whole troop all the tools they needed and how to use them to make the benches. Some of the things they learned include how to measure and mark wood, priming and painting, and how to use a drill. Along the way they had lots of fun, learned to work better together, and about being an advocate for others.
Troop Leader, Danielle Stock, said of the experience, “Our journey to earning the Bronze Award has been so rewarding. We have grown closer as a troop and made a lot of memories. We highly recommend Girl Scout Juniors to pursue the Bronze Award – take your time in choosing your project. When you find the right project, the hours of work will fly by.”
Looking for a Buddy Bench?! These benches were delivered to seven Mesa schools: Archway Academy, Entz Elementary, Field Elementary, Highland Arts Elementary, MacArthur Elementary, Mendoza Elementary, and Robson Elementary School. Now hundreds of students at these schools have a safe place to go to during recess.