NEW BETHLEHEM – Fundraising efforts continue as one area Girl Scout works to make her vision of constructing a Victory Garden along New Bethlehem’s main drag come to life.
Last fall, Emily Truitt of New Bethlehem — a member of Redbank Valley Girl Scout Troop 26805 — announced plans to construct a Victory Garden honoring veterans from all branches of the United States military. Designed as a relaxing space for veterans and community members, the garden will serve Truitt’s Silver Award project for Girl Scouts.
As the second award earned by Girl Scout cadets on their journey to the highest ranking Gold Award, Silver Award projects utilize a cadet’s leadership to implement a change in the community. Projects must be completed individually or in a small group between sixth and eighth grades, and require cadets to log at least 50 hours of individual leadership.
When the time came to select her own project, Truitt said it didn’t take her long to notice that the local community was lacking a veterans’ memorial, and she decided the empty lot next to the Moose Lodge along Broad Street in New Bethlehem would be the perfect location to host her Victory Garden.
Although its theme will be military based, Truitt said she wants the garden to be a positive, uplifting space. It will feature a 32-foot-by-20-foot cement patio with an eight-foot-by-20-foot raised flower garden in the center, containing three flags — the United States Flag, the Pennsylvania State Flag and the POW/MIA Flag. Five benches, honoring the five military branches, surround the flower garden, and three of the garden’s four corners will be adorned with pedestals hosting military-related statues.
Since the Girl Scouts will provide no monetary help toward the project, Truitt is responsible for raising the necessary funds. She began fundraising this past September, and to date, has raised approximately 20 percent of her $30,000 goal.
“I think the fundraising is going well, especially since there’s a 13-year-old girl at the helm,” said Girl Scout troop leader and Truitt’s mother Jessie Truitt. She noted that after eight months of fundraising, she believes the project is “on track” to be completed by the September 2020 deadline.
While various donations from several community members and a surprise fundraiser sponsored by Tom’s Riverside in New Bethlehem have helped the project’s progress, Truitt said the most successful fundraiser to date was a spaghetti dinner that she hosted in March.
“We had a good turnout that day,” Truitt said. “That’s where we raised a good chunk of our money.”
Along with the ongoing sale of personalized bricks that will cover the ground of the Victory Garden, Truitt said she also recently started selling t-shirts and bracelets as a more affordable way to support her project.
“I wanted to try a fundraiser that was more affordable for people,” Truitt said, noting that that she is focusing more on t-shirt and bracelet sales this summer, while planning larger fundraisers for later in the year. “I’m honored and impressed by the support the community has shown for my project so far.”
Even though there is still a lot of fundraising to be done, Jessie Truitt said her daughter is optimistic and plans to break ground at the project site when she reaches 50 percent of her total goal.
“I think we’re still in the awareness phase of the project,” she said, explaining that Emily has been spreading the word about her Victory Garden by setting up booths at community events and festivals — such as Customer Appreciation Day and, most recently, the annual Independence Day fireworks event, both in New Bethlehem. “We’re trying to raise awareness and let people know that we’re here.”
For more information on the Victory Garden or to make a donation, call Jessie Truitt at (814) 229-6652, or visit www.gsvictorygarden.com.