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Girl Scouts help design Carbondale’s new playground at Hendrick Ranch Park

From left to right, Luna Beattie, Gwen DeRudder, Alma Rossello, and Georgia Owings prepare for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hendrick Ranch Park in Carbondale on June 20, 2023. The girls are members of Girl Scout Troop 17082 and helped choose a new design for the park when the Town of Carbondale was planning renovations.
Halle Zander
/
Aspen Public Radio
From left to right, Luna Beattie, Gwen DeRudder, Alma Rossello, and Georgia Owings prepare for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hendrick Ranch Park in Carbondale on June 20, 2023. The girls are members of Girl Scout Troop 17082 and helped choose a new design for the park when the Town of Carbondale was planning renovations.

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aquí.

The Town of Carbondale’s Parks and Recreation Commission hosted a ribbon-cutting for a new playground it unveiled this year at Hendrick Ranch Park and enlisted help from Girl Scouts to pick the final design.

In 2022, Girl Scout Troop 17082 decided to pursue a Take Action badge, which requires kids to think big and address the cause of a problem in their community.

The troop took a trip to Hendrick Park in Carbondale last year, and noticed the infrastructure was failing.

Alma Rossello is 8 years old, and she’s been in this Girl Scout troop since she was in kindergarten.

“We went to the park that used to be here,” Rossello said. “It was kind of torn up and the bridge was starting to go a little wonky, so we decided this park would be the best place to restart.”

Alma’s mother, Rose Rossello, is their troop leader and the vice chair of Carbondale’s Parks and Recreation Commission. She helped the kids map out a plan to improve the playground.

“So a big part of this park process was actually going to a Parks and Rec meeting and having a presentation that the girls all did on why we chose the equipment that we chose,” Rossello said.

Renovating Hendrick Park was already on the town’s agenda, and at the end of February last year, the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission had received seven proposals for the $80,000 construction contract.

Eric Brendlinger, Carbondale’s Parks and Recreation Commission director, said they didn’t know how to choose from the different options, and the girls were very helpful.

“They're the experts,” Brendlinger said. “So we said, ‘let's let them do our job for us, really,’ and they literally put together a PowerPoint presentation that blew me away, blew the entire commission away. And we went with their recommendations because it made total sense.”

The Girl Scout troop looked at the proposals and made notes about what they liked personally, but they also took into account what would be best for kids of all ages and chose option “A.”

“I like that they had lots of climbers, so kids could get exercise,” DeRudder said.

One Girl Scout, Georgia Owings, said she liked the plastic playground, “because we didn't want anyone to get splinters and hurt their legs.”

Kids and parents gather at a new playground at Hendrick’s Park in Carbondale on June 20, 2023. Girl Scout Troop 17082 helped the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission choose a final playground design in 2022.
Halle Zander
/
Aspen Public Radio
Kids and parents gather at a new playground at Hendrick’s Park in Carbondale on June 20, 2023. Girl Scout Troop 17082 helped the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission choose a final playground design in 2022.

The Parks and Rec commission agreed with them.

Option A was proposed by Burke, a playground equipment company, which included a small play structure for younger kids, a larger structure for bigger kids, and six swings.

But the Girl Scouts were particular about what kinds of swings the town should order, because the troop wanted to make sure the playground was accessible for everyone.

They picked out two standard swings, two swings for small children, one ADA-accessible swing, and a multigenerational swing that allows an adult to ride with a child.

The troop was proud to have a hand in building this fun, new park.

“I feel way better at choosing ideas and not just thinking of me, but actually thinking about all the Girl Scouts,” Rossello said.

Owings said she felt “like a grown-up” for her involvement in the project.

“I just feel like it's for everyone, and they can enjoy how we designed it and have fun,” Owings said.

Luna Beattie is another Girl Scout in the troop.

“You're not, like, ‘It's all about yourself,’” Beattie said. “It's for everyone.”

With the proceeds from their cookie sales, Troop 17082 also decided to donate a teeter-totter to the Town of Carbondale for the project.

These Girl Scouts are planning to take what they learned from the Hendrick Park playground project and put it to use while the Town of Carbondale plans to renovate its pool.

When asked why they cared about the community pool, DeRudder said, “You like to hang out in the bathtub, right? But you're kind of cramped up in a small space, and you kind of want to swim, so you go to a swimming pool, which is open for all people.”

They’re not sure how to get involved yet, but they’re enjoying civic engagement.
Copyright 2023 Aspen Public Radio. To see more, visit Aspen Public Radio.

Halle Zander