Last fall, Girl Scouts Lydia Osman, Emma Gadsby, Alayna Martin, and McKenzie Snyder were thinking about a project to help them complete their Girl Scout Silver Award. They decided to approach Mount Nittany Health to ask if there was a space available for them to transform into a relaxing place for staff who have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a brainstorming session, the team created a plan to accomplish their goal. First, they contacted Mount Nittany Health to ask if there were any spaces available. They learned the cafeteria patio is an area where staff take breaks and one that could use sprucing up. They met with medical center staff over Zoom to discuss ideas and options.
“We started brainstorming for our project in the late fall, early winter 2022,” says Lydia. “The purpose of our project was to provide a calming and safe space where people could de-stress and relax if they got overwhelmed because of the high-stress environment during COVID.”
All four scouts were in 8th grade—the last year of cadettes—and the Silver Award is the highest award a cadette-level Girl Scout can earn. The award is given to Girl Scouts who demonstrate skills such as critical thinking, project management, problem solving, leadership, teamwork and volunteering. It also takes a minimum 50 hours to complete.
“After the cafeteria patio was suggested and we had a chance to take a tour, we started working on budgeting, shopping, and planning,” says Emma.
“Then we started to put together all of the bits and pieces to transform the space and gather information and resources for reducing stress like our mobile stress-relief cart,” McKenzie adds.
All Silver Award projects have an educational component so the stress-relief cart features pamphlets to help people recognize the causes of stresses and tips for relief and relaxation like breathing techniques. The stress relief cart also features “fidgets” people can use to relax. The fidgets include sensory bags, which the girls made, pop-its, and infinity cubes. Knowing how important infection control is in a hospital setting, the group selected fidgets that could be sanitized and outfitted the cart with wipes to clean them between uses.
The final installation was completed on May 26th and features pallet planters, paintings for the walls, centerpieces for the tables, the stress-relief cart, and perennials for the open space below the patio.
“Our hope, now that the project is complete, is that the area becomes a calming and nice area for all who come down to the cafeteria,” says Alyana. “We also want to thank M&M Print Shop, Bellefonte Garden Club, Mariya Gulshak, the artist who created the paintings, Scott from ReMarkables in Bellefonte, and the people at Mount Nittany Health who were all welcoming and helped coordinate the finer details of our project.”
Mount Nittany Health facilities and culinary teams worked closely with the girls to help them complete their project. The staff at the medical center is grateful for their efforts and looks forward to enjoying the new additions to the patio.