Both of my children participated in Scouts. I was a leader of the Brownie and Girl Scout troops for my daughter and a volunteer when my son was in Cub Scouts. I think these years are so important in helping kids find out who they are by developing new interests, thereby creating a strong sense of self and confidence. Because I feel being a scout is important, I am eager to work with Brownie, Girl, Cub and Boy Scouts in the community. I have had the good fortune to become associated with the girls at Parkway’s Bellerive Elementary School in Creve Coeur through their leaders, Natalie Wolfman and Vani Peradia.
Three years ago the gardens around the Tappmeyer house in Millennium Park were in their infancy. Prior to the September ribbon cutting, I designed and helped install the Hydrangeas, Boxwood and Colorado Blue Spruce that are the “bones” of the foundation landscape. Planning ahead, I hoped one day to have a pass-along perennial flower garden, an heirloom vegetable garden, an herb bed and to the lofty goal to rid the forest of Honeysuckle.
One of the first volunteer contacts I made was with Natalie. Her girls were at Bellerive Elementary, she was the scout leader and was looking for a rewarding, long-term project that fostered community spirit for her troop. We met that first summer and the girls helped us install a pass-along perennial garden in the front and sides of the house. Each girl went shopping, bringing a perennial or two to the Tappmeyer house, giving the garden some much needed color. Some of the girls had no prior experience in gardening, and it was such fun to see them learn how to use a trowel and shovel- they took so much pride in what they planted. That fall they returned with their parents and helped to plant 350 daffodils.
Since then the gardens have evolved. The perennials that the girls planted 3 seasons ago fill the beds with color- they also provide seeds for songbirds and nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. The heirloom vegetable garden now has a permanent, 6-foot tall deer fence designed and constructed by Parkway North student and Boy Scout (Den 492) Ben Edele. Ben, assisted by his family and other Boy Scouts, completed the project to attain his Eagle Scout status. Additionally, the material for the fence was funded through a grant from the St. Louis Master Gardeners.
In 2011 we had “Daffodil Days” at Tappmeyer and this past weekend had our 2012 “Daffodil Days.” On Sunday we had our biggest group yet- over 20 girls and their parents from kindergarten to 6th grade. They worked together, beautifying their community and enjoying being outside on a splendid, sunny day. They have wholeheartedly assumed ownership of the daffodil field, coming back each spring to see the numerous colors and types of daffodils. To date, thanks to the scouts, over 1,100 daffodils dot the field next to the historic Tappmeyer house.
This spring, if you happen to be at Millennium Park, stop by the Tappmeyer house and enjoy the fruits of the girls labor. You just might see one of the scouts while you’re there. Looking at the field of flowers, she’ll remember the day she placed some bulbs in the ground and, over winter, they turned into a beautiful flower. She won’t know it yet: in planting those flowers she began contributing to her community, making it a better place because of her involvement. Creating a sense of pride and ownership through her actions as a scout. All because of adults like Natalie and Vani, who donate their time, ensuring that every girl has the opportunity to reach her full potential.