Lauren Champlin and Emily Busch loved playing at Gleneden Community Park. Known as “Moose Park” because of the large moose statue near the playground, this neighborhood gem had all the ingredients for fun.
Tucked away in the Gleneden neighborhood, the park’s five acres include a large grassy meadow, perfect for family softball games or soccer scrimmages. The girls enjoyed clambering over rock outcroppings and playing hide and seek among the trees. Swings, slides and a zipline offered hours of summer fun.
However, last year the park fell victim to service reductions due to budget cuts. Champlin and Busch, both 9, were dismayed as the green meadow turned brown, and weeds overtook the flowerbeds.
So they decided to do something about it. The two Girl Scouts and their troop leader Jenifer Champlin met with Spokane County Parks Director Doug Chase. “We told him we’d seen how sad Moose Park was because it was losing all its leaves,” said Busch. “We told him we’d like to get the services back.”
Jenifer Champlin said the girls are working on their Bronze Award – the highest award junior Girl Scouts can earn. The award requires a “take action project,” and they chose Moose Park as their project.
“The girls were great,” said Chase. “It’s always fun to get input through the eyes of kids.”
The Girl Scouts offered to take care of mowing, cleanup and weeding in the park. In return, Chase agreed that the county would resume watering.
Jenifer Champlin set up a donation fund through Spokane Parks Foundation. She said, “The money will be used to help pay for gas for the volunteer mowers, to purchase trash bags, and other maintenance items as they come up to help service our park.”
The girls also organized a cleanup day at the park and went door-to-door throughout the neighborhood passing out donation envelopes and fliers.
On April 2, more than two dozen volunteers showed up. “We picked up litter and raked the flower beds,” said Lauren Champlin.
Neighbors have responded with enthusiasm to the girls’ efforts, volunteering their lawn mowers, time and energy. “So far we have 11 weeks of mowing covered,” Jenifer Champlin said. “We just need to cover four more weeks.”
To celebrate their success, the two Girl Scouts are organizing a family fun day at the park on June 1, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Busch patted the moose statue as she gazed at the brown meadow. “I have a lot of great memories about this park,” she said. “I hope the grass will grow back.”