May 6 2013
High school freshman Paul Gagne is one step closer to becoming an Eagle Scout.
Over the weekend, he and about 30 members of the Wauwatosa Boy Scout Troop #21 renovated a patient courtyard at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division that had fallen into disrepair.
"I thought it would be kind of nice to put in somewhere [patients] could go and get some fresh air," Gagne said.
The scouts dug up weeds that had taken over the courtyard and replaced them with shrubs, flowers and a fresh layer of mulch. They also added new benches to the space.
Gagne, 15, said organizing the project was the last requirement to earn his Eagle Scout badge.
"When I was in fifth grade I set that goal to get my Eagle Scout. Finally finishing it is pretty cool," he said.
Gagne's plan was to create a "healing garden" for patients dealing with mental health issues. The design -- donated by Hawks Nursery in Wauwatosa -- included fragrant sage bushes and other flowering plants.
Staff at the Behavioral Health Division said the new courtyard is a welcomed change.
"From the patient's standpoint, sometimes just putting beauty as a part of the environment is part of that healing process," said Dr. Justin Kuehl, a clinical psychologist for Milwaukee County.
Scouts completed the project Saturday. The courtyard is now open to patients.