KISSIMMEE —In the center of Old Town, inbetween the shops, bars and restaurants that attract visitors to this theme park on U.S. 192, is something a lot of people probably don’t notice as they walk past it.
But it still makes Don Rousseau, the sales and marketing manager for the theme park, quite proud just the same.
The landscaping work that decorates the Old Town property, Rousseau points out, is beautifully done, and adds considerable to the look and charm of Old Town. And best of all, he said, is who did the work: a girl of young girls.
“They just worked their tails off,” Rousseau said. “It was amazing.”
It’s known as Forever Green — a special program between Old Town and the Girl Scouts to beautify the theme park’s property, while at the same time giving the young girls an opportunity to do community service work and learn something about landscaping. It’s a program that’s worked to the benefit of both sides, said Nanci Schwartz, president of The CommConnection, Inc., which handles publicity for Old Town.
“The Girl Scouts have been partnering with Old Town,” Schwartz said. “The project is called Forever Green. The girls have been planting new flower beds and adding mulch and trying to clean up the area.”
Old Town has spent months developing new attractions, such as the PEPSI AMPVenture Experience, a new ropes course challenge, and the Flying Dutchmen, a new thrill ride. It’s part of a long term effort on the theme park’s part to find new ways to attract guests.
Part of that, Schwartz said, has been Forever Green, to make the park grounds as visually appealing as possible. That’s why Old Town’s management turned to the Girl Scouts as the ideal group to spearhead this project.
“They’ve been coming out all month,” Schwartz said of the young girls. “There have been dozens of girls who signed up.”
Their work is easy to spot up and down the streets of Old Town — anyone who crosses the street passes by the array of flowers and trees that have been planted in the center of the walkway. It’s also a great project for the kids, said Melba Rubera, the program’s facilitator.
“This prepares them to go into the regular world,” Rubera said, by giving them practical, hands-on experience.
“Troops are supposed to be looking for places to help the community,” she said. “We want the Girl Scouts to make the world a better place.”
Forever Green has been a great project, she said, and the girls have enjoyed it as well.
“The Girl Scouts came in here and enhanced the landscaping,” she said. “They were all over the main road, planting flower beds. We’re going to revisit it and come back in year.”
It was also great of Old Town, she said, to give the students this opportunity.
“Old Town was really nice to do this,” she said, adding that as the girls were finishing their work on one of the flower beds, “I told the girls, ‘Look, you own this now.”
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