East Peoria Cadette Troop #4718 had three members complete their Silver Award, the 2nd highest award in Girl Scouts, last fall.  Isabell Bollinger, Kelsie Griffin, and Reagan Perry, who were all 13 at the time.

The three 8th grade girls were challenged to create seating for 46 people around the campfire by the new Spirit Cabins at Camp Tapawingo, Girl Scout Camp in Metamora. First, they figured out the best configuration to allow for that many people and still be reasonably close to the campfire. After testing a few different ideas, they decided to make two rows of stadium style seating to make the fire visible to the back row as well.  They decided to build eight benches that will hold approximately six people on each. 

The next step was figuring up all the needed materials and their cost.  We used treated lumber and galvanized hardware, so it would withstand the weather longer.  The majority of the materials were gathered through donations of materials and money. 

Once all the materials were acquired, the girls began building the tops of the benches in our garage.  This included measuring and cutting the wood, drilling holes, and putting screws with washers and nuts on to hold them together. They spent two evenings making all eight bench tops. 

It was now time to go work at Camp Tapawingo. First the location of the benches needed to be marked.  Using the fire ring as the center, a tape measure was used according to the plans to determine where the bench posts needed to be. Then an auger was used to dig holes in the ground for the bench posts. The girls mixed the cement in a wheel barrel and poured it around the posts to set them. Once the posts were level and set, they were cut off at the appropriate height for the bench. Next it was time to attach the bench tops.  The girls made sure they were centered, then holes were drilled to drive screws through and tightened with ratchets. And the first bench was complete! This process was repeated seven more times. We worked on them for two days.

The finishing touch was putting on dedication plaques.  The girls proudly attached four plaques around the outside of the 2nd row of benches.

Isabell, Kelsie, and Reagan will be honored and receive their Silver Award at the Peoria Regional Award Ceremony being held at Camp Tapawingo on May 11.

Each girl worked about 35 hours each from start to finish, so a combined 105 hours.  They also had additional construction help from Devlin Neuhaus, Camp Tapawingo Site Manager, and Kelsie's family members.