Scout strives for Silver with park project

Kendall Grant refurbishes benches at Owens Park on way to Silver Award

Williamstown Girl Scout Kendall Grant paints a bench at Owens Park with help from her dad, Eugene. The project was part of Kendall’s Silver Award requirements. (Anthony J. Mazziotti III/The Sun)

Selling Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties by the truckload isn’t the only activity Girl Scouts participate in.

Their flagship fundraiser, while crucial to their success, teaches girls the values of team-building, money management, financial literacy, public speaking and basic math skills.

The funds generated from the cookie sales go back to the girls, allowing them to go to camps, like a STEM academy that teaches girls the importance of science and technology or how to better the ecosystem. It can send them to camps like “Beach Jam,” where Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts alike go camping on the beach in Wildwood. “Beach Jam” is where Williamstown Girl Scout Kendall Grant showcased her skills to earn support of strangers for her dream of earning the Silver Award. Grant sold bags of s’mores on the boardwalk for $2. She said she raised more than $170 for her cause.

“People were very supportive of me and my project when I explained what I was doing. They were very considerate and very kind,” Grant said.

Grant, who will be a freshman at Williamstown High School this fall, is working toward her Silver Award. The Silver Award is one step below the Gold Award, the Girl Scout equivalent of earning Eagle Scout. Grant’s project for the Silver Award is to refurbish the benches at Owens Park.

“What you have to do is make a project that will be sustainable, so I’m repainting and fixing up the benches in the park because I’ve been going to this park for years, I even go with Camp Squankum,” Grant said. “I’ve been going there since I moved down here. I’ve always noticed the tables and benches don’t look so good, they’re chipped, the paint is chipped. I thought ‘This should be my project.’ This is what I’ll be focusing on,”

Before she embarked on her project, Grant pitched her idea to officials in town who openly embraced her plan to restore the benches in the park. Their only stipulation was she had to paint the benches grey to match the snack stand in the park.

While it is not a requirement to earn the Silver Award, Grant is already the recipient of the Bronze Award for teaching children in Chesilhurst a Black History Month lesson. She and a few of her friends performed a skit as famous African Americans. Grant portrayed Aretha Franklin and her two friends were Janet Jackson and Josephine Baker.

With the Bronze Award under her belt, she was more than ready to pursue the next step and learn more about leadership.

“To do a project like this it basically can help anybody learn about leadership. It can help them learn about responsibility, it can help them learn about caring for others, and by doing this it will help out a lot of people,” she said. “The benches won’t be torn or broken. We’ll be fixing them so they look more refreshed and better by refurbishing them.

“It means that I’ve been able to complete a project that helps my community,” she said of completing her bench refurbishment project. “It means a lot to me because I care about my town and I care about the people in it. I feel like doing this is a step up for me and it’s helping me learn about leadership, responsibility and compassion. Being able to do this is a very big deal for me because I care about this park.”