Monday, July 23, 2012

Girl's World Forum: Day 3, the full rundown

Being as clumsy as I am, I often watch where I am walking (half the time, I still trip though).  As I was walking between the two gardens, looking down at the rough terrain, I noticed a small scattering of apples.  I stopped to look up, and sure enough, there was an apple tree!  We take things like this for granted far too often.  My own parents had a pomegranate and fig tree at their old house, so I had fresh figs and pomegranates the moment they were ripe enough to pick.  Even in my own garden at our lovely house, I take the fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables I have grown for granted more than I realize.  My husband has a job, a good job.  My family has a roof over their head, a good roof.  I can cook anything my heart desires, thanks to the amazing education I was provided.... yet there are still people who cannot.  
I headed back to the abundance garden to see that Sa'Haara's small group had nearly finished picking the onions and Madison's small group had already made a dent in the path they were reshaping.  I was still so surprised that these scouts and guides had made such a difference in this small garden in such a short time.  There were girls that felt so passionate about this garden in such a short time.  We the adults would ask them to come have some water, and sit in the shade and rest for a little bit, but they were perfectly content taking a sip of water and resuming their work.  Even little four year old Lucy was all too happy to show us how she already knew how to pull weeds and why we put it in a compost pile.  Four years old, and already she was making a difference!



Take action....

Remember this photo for later (a before picture)

On day 1, we discovered the issues.  On day 2, we connected out in the world.  One day 3, we took action!  We literally changed the world today, starting with some very grateful Chicago residents.

The adults started out the day with a break out session that really helped us in what we can to do to help our scouts with their take actions projects when we returned home.  I found this session to be so helpful!  Being the worry wart that I am, it was nice to hear other adults who had some of the same concerns I did, but it was also comforting to hear some viable solutions to our worries.

From there, we all got on buses and head out.  Obviously, you can't bring 500 people to one, small project, so we were divided up into smaller groupings.  My group went off with an organization called Chicago Cares to help out in a community garden.  The garden we visited was very unique as far as urban gardens go.  The first half of the garden was on one side of the church, and was already established as place that residents could "rent" a portion of to grow their own produce.  The second half of the garden was around the other side and was an abundance garden.  That garden is run by four volunteers who use it to grow produce to help those in need.

As you can see from the photos, the gardens are well established, but were in need of some good ole TLC, Girl Scout style!  Sa'Haara helped out some other guides and scouts by harvesting some nice onions in a patch in the abundance garden.  Madison helped out some guides and scouts by doing some work on the paths in that garden.

Ok, remember that photo I showed you?  This is something really cool!

As you can see from these photos, throughout the day, that little pile of dirt began to take shape into something amazing.  So, what is it?  Permaculture gardening at it's best!  As far as a sustainable community garden goes, there's not a lot of space for them to use.  So if you can't expand outwards, you expand upwards!  Underneath all that dirt is some recycled concrete chunks.  That awkward looking pipe that you noticed is also a part of a system that will eventually make the garden self irrigating.  The bricks are also recycled, from an old building.  Therefore, that little herb garden the girls helped with, will in turn make some healthy vegetables from this garden also taste very yummy!

Watching the girls plant transplant the herbs seemed to give them a sense of accomplishment.  I think all of them were able to stand back and really see what they had all accomplished.  Even though I was the adult and just got to stand back and take photos, I was still amazed that each and every one of them had such passion for this project.

So back to that cute kid, Lucy.  Her Mother is a volunteer at the abundance garden, and was the brains behind that amazing herb garden.  We asked Lucy if she knew how to garden, and she said "I do, very well!"  Wanting to give her something to do, I played coy and asked her if she would show me how to pull weeds, because I wasn't sure I knew how to do it the right way.  Lucy played along and showed me how.  Then she showed me how to slide off the dirt mountain!

We returned to that herb garden just as it was starting to rain to see the progress that had been made.  Even looking around the progress Madison and Sa'Haara had made, I was stunned.

As I mentioned before, it began raining.  The rain turned into an all out storm, and soon it was time for us to leave.  At least the rain gave us all an impromptu shower!

We returned for a few sessions on what we had done that day.  We related it back to our projects we want to do, the issues at hand, and reflected on the nature of the forum as well.  From there we had a fun session on creating art by using recycled materials.  For me, it was just another fun day, since y'all know how much I love my recycled crafts!

Our day was finished off with International Night.  The Georgia girls represented Coca-Cola on their shirts, and we had a cute slide show with some information about our state.

Everyone had some form of a display, and it was all amazing!  I wish I got photos of all of them!

A lot of people got up and shared native songs and dances with us, which was not only fun and educational, but inspirational as well.  It's amazing how we can see in the news how there are countries or distinct groups of people that hate each other, yet when you looked around at everyone (not just on International night), it was obvious that there was no hate around us.  That's one of the many great things about guiding and scouting- no prejudice, no hate, pure love and acceptance (well, that's what I see).

Even looking back at the many photos I took, I am still overwhelmed at what had been accomplished by that point in the forum.  Three days was all it took.  Imagine what we can do with a little bit more time and help.....

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