gs_scoping120Parents often tell their children to get their minds out of the toilet.  Lansing Girl Scouts are the exception that proves the rule.  Six Lansing scouts are planning a major renovation of the town ball field restrooms to earn their Silver scouting award.  Last year the same troop built a beautiful garden at the entrance to the Lansing Center Trail.  This year they wanted another project that would make a real and lasting difference to Lansing people.

"They felt very strongly about that," says Assistant Scout Leader Amelia Massi.  "This is something that is potentially used by everyone in the community.  When their school busses go by the Lansing Center Trail garden they feel they helped the community.  To think about driving by those restrooms, they wanted to make a lasting impressing.  That's what you hope with any of the awards, that you are making a lasting difference in the community.  They felt like this one was something they could actually do and make a lasting difference."

A major goal is to make the rest rooms wheelchair accessible.  But that is only part of the project.  The scouts are currently finalizing their design and planning their first fundraising event, a pancake breakfast at Applebee's on April 27th to Benefit The Lansing Community Service Project (Renovation of the outdoor restrooms at the ball fields near Lansing Town Hall.)

gs_brplanAA plan shows a new garden and paved walkway that is wheelchair accessible as well as major upgrades inside the rest rooms.

They will need to raise thousands of dollars to complete the project.  They are in the process of pricing the items, but it is already clear that three and a half new bathroom stall kits will represent the greatest expense, possibly more than $3,000.  Hand dryers may top $800.  Two mirrors will cost $120, signs identifying Men's and Women's restrooms $32.  Interior paint will cost about $400.  Bulletin boards, pavers for the front of the girl's bathroom and perennial plants will add to the total.  Three bushes on the end of the building will be removed in favor of decorative plantings that will not obscure new signs identifying the bathrooms that are planned for that wall.

The girls are also meeting with Cornell interior design specialist Rhonda Gilmore to come up with a design and colors for the interior walls.  One idea is to create a 'feature wall' that would decrease the ease of marking walls with graffiti.

Girls Scouts earn Bronze, Silver and Gold medals.  The Bronze medal is earned by the troop as a whole.  The Lansing girls built the Lansing Center trail garden to earn it.  Silver medals are earned in groups of two to four scouts.  The six scout troop will be splitting up with three girls working on the ladies' room and the other three on the men's room.  The Gold medal is the Girl Scout's equivalent of Boy Scouting's Eagle Scout status.  It is earned individually on community projects.

As part of their Cadet Girl Scout experience the scouts pick a module to base their Bronze project on.

"They picked one called 'Breathe'," Massi explains.  "It helps them to look around the world and see how they can make the air better.  It's a metaphor for 'how can we make the world better?'  That was one of the things they noticed."

gs_troopSix Lansing Girl Scouts will raise money and implement a plan to make major upgrades to the town ball field rest rooms

They considered projects for the SPCA and a Town dog park before settling on the ball field restroom renovation idea.

"They want to work on projects that are local," Massi says.  "This is something they felt strongly about.  Everyone who plays baseball or plays soccer or plays on the playground uses those bathrooms.  They want them to look nice.  The hand dryers don't work and the stalls don't lock and it's tough to get into them, especially the girl's room.  They felt that needed to be better."

Massi says the girls are hoping their work will inspire someone to donate a drinking fountain outside the building that could cost over $800.  The plumbing is in place, but an old drinking fountain was removed when it stopped working.

"Last year they worked with the Lansing Pathways Committee," Massi says.  "This year they are working with the Parks and Recreation Department.  Pat Tyrell and Steve Colt have been fantastic.  They met with the troop several times to discuss what needs to happen there.  The girls prioritized what they thought was important.  They felt that one of the most important things is, since the bathrooms were originally constructed about 25 years ago, they are not as wheelchair accessible as we would want them to be."

Massi co-leads the troop with Head Scout Leader Nancy Fish.  Most of the Lansing scouts have been part of the troop since Kindergarten or first grade.  The troop hopes to begin construction later in the summer.