Riley Schilt, a Girl Scout with Troop 6200, pats down a zucchini plant with the help of Girl Scout Cadette Inara Houser from Troop 6318 at a community garden in Montague Village at Fort Hood, Texas. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood DPW Environmental) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - Inara Houser, a Girl Scout Cadette with Fort Hood Troop 6318, saw an opportunity to revitalize the Montague Community Garden here as a tool for empowerment, leadership and service for fellow scouts, Fort Hood Family Housing residents and volunteers.

“I love doing things that help others,” Inara said. “I knew that this project would not only benefit Girl Scouts but that it would help the community, as well and hopefully, get this garden in use.”

Creating positive change and inspiring the community, Houser volunteered more than 50 hours cleaning the beds overgrown with weeds, laying new soil, planting, pruning trees and bushes and giving the site a facelift with décor as part of her Silver Award project.

“I am proud of her,” Cameron Houser, Inara's mom and troop leader, said. “It’s a labor of love because the project involves a lot of hands-on physical labor and time, and the community impact of her efforts is really moving.”

With the help of friends, family and her troop, Inara raised $225 to purchase soil, seeds, plants and décor from the flea market.

Houser hosted a grand re-opening of the community garden on March 27. Attendees gained insight to her efforts and planting techniques and lent a helping hand, weeding the area.

“She did a great job and now there is going to be so many new vegetables, fruits and plants,” Mia Dombroski, Girl Scout, Troop 6322, said. “This inspires me to create my own garden and encourage others to be the difference you want to make in the world, like Inara.”

“It feels amazing knowing that other young people are into this and that I am able to help them get started,” Inara said. “Hopefully, they can do something great like this in their future.”

Girl Scout Cadette Inara Houser helps Mia Dombroski, a Girl Scout with Troop 6322, plant clover seeds to take home with her in the Montague Village Community Garden at Fort Hood, Texas. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood DPW Environmental) VIEW ORIGINAL

To stay up to date on the garden’s progress and when vegetables and fruits will be ready for harvesting, Inara created a Facebook group called Montague Community Garden. The group is an extension of her leadership to reach out to the community and encourage them to come out and get started.

“The garden is not meant to be run by one person, but bring the community together,” Cameron said.

Although, Inara has completed her hours for the project, she will continue to volunteer throughout the spring and into the summer, watering the site and helping to grow tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers and basil.

“The community garden is good way to interact with others and meet new friends with similar interests and learn new skills like leadership,” she said.

Besides gardening, Inara shared that there are other projects available to help contribute to the space.

“We have cinder blocks that can be repurposed as birdhouses or someone can even build a compost bin,” she said. “Together, we can help the garden out and make it better than it already is.”