Girl Scouts revamp Gatlinburg Community Center wall with mural

Troop 20648 created a butterfly mural at the Gatlinburg Community Center. They can’t wait to celebrate 110 years of Girl Scouts at “Reach for the Peaks.”

GATLINBURG, Tenn. – The Girl Scouts do more than just sell cookies. For a troupe in Sevier County, the goal is to create impactful change, while holding each other accountable.

Troop 20648 created a butterfly mural and garden at the Gatlinburg Community Center for approximately 6 months. As spring creeps in, one look at the ground shows signs of growth. A look at a Girl Scout’s vest also gives you insight into this process.

The latest addition to Jamie Cogdill, Ella Evans, Kylie Patterson and Kylie Weaver vests is a small silver pin. It’s the Silver Award. The four girls got it for the change they created in their community.

“It took us about a few months to do it,” Kylie Weaver said. “Probably around six [months] or so, but it took action, so we planted, we mulched, and we traced and painted the wall.”

The troupe transformed a once gray wall in the Gatlinburg Community Center into a work of art with a butterfly and bee garden below.

“With the community, I feel like it’s already beautiful,” Kylie Weaver said. “I feel like with this it just goes a little bit further.”

Combining beauty with a lesson, a quote is painted on the wall as a reminder of the impact people can have on their communities — Have no fear, change is such a beautiful thing.

“It’s great because the community center is for kids my age who are going to go through a bit of a change,” Kylie Patterson said.

Their troop leader, Delea Patterson, knows that power goes beyond patches.

“I’ve always believed that girls should give back,” she said. “It helps create strong leaders, and as women, they don’t always have the chance to learn that they have to be strong leaders.”

Although the girls are in middle school, they have already taken off in Sevier County.

“I want the best for them,” Delea Patterson said. “I want them to have every opportunity they could possibly have, and if I can help lead them that way, I will lead them as much as possible.”

Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachia celebrates 110 years of service on March 12. They will be hosting a fundraiser and celebration at the Knoxville Museum of Art at 2 p.m.

Along with this, from March 5, the girls go hiking for “Reach for the Peaks”. This is an effort to raise funds and help fuel the next generation of female leaders.

“Girls need it,” said Delea Patterson. “Some girls don’t get it at home. They’re not taught to be empowered, and so that gives us a chance to teach them to be strong women.”

Becoming a strong woman involves hard work and the freedom to thrive.

“I feel like there are always little butterfly prints all over here,” Kylie Patterson said.

Through years of change, this group takes advice from the butterfly.

“Yeah, everybody’s getting high again,” Delea Patterson said.

Jill E. Washington