Resident creates tranquility garden for those dealing with stress

Where do you go when you’re stressed out?

One Shelton girl scout didn’t know where to go when she was worrying about heading into her freshman year of college, so she created a place where anyone can escape their stressors.

“As a part of the process to earn my Gold Award, which is the equivalence of a boy scout earning his Eagle Scout, I had to create a sustainable project and with all that I had going on with school, that’s when it hit me,” said Shelton resident Julia Codere, who is a part of Troop 60212.

In an effort to help cope with her stress from school and earn her Gold Award, Codere said she had the idea to create a tranquility garden at the city’s United Methodist Church, which would also provide the rest of the community with a place to relax. Codere will enter her freshman year at the University of Maryland in the fall, where she will study physics.

Ironically enough, the project that would satisfy the requirements for the Gold Award and that she hoped would ease her stress, proved to be stressful work for her. Luckily for her, even though she designed the garden herself, she had help from volunteers to help bring the idea to life.

“I needed to complete a total number of 80 community service hours for the award requirements,” said Codere. “Fortunately, the planning took up a large portion of that. Planting the flowers, laying down the mulch and placing the benches wasn’t too bad, but the entire garden took about a month to put together.”

Codere said once the garden was complete it was a huge relief for her. Although she said she personally hasn’t had much time to enjoy the space she enjoys the fact that people she knows have made good use of it.

“My grandmother told me that she comes out here sometimes,” said Codere.

The church’s own Reverend Inkoo Chung said the garden is open to the public and has been a beautiful addition to the property.

“It was amazing to see everyone come together to create a space where people can come to find peace,” said Reverend Chung. “I was in there this morning, walking the path, praying to God and admiring the beauty of creation. If there’s ever anything that I want to let go, I do it there.”

One of the finishing touches to the tranquility garden was the construction of an informational kiosk that included a written statement from Codere explaining the purpose of the space.

“The goal of this garden is to promote relaxation during stressful times. Everything in life can be a stressor, from work to family. While it is important to recognize what causes your stress, it is also nice to take some time away. I created this garden for the community to have a place to retreat…”

Reverend Chung said the addition of the garden came at the perfect time and on Sunday, Aug. 20, the church and its members will celebrate its 50-year anniversary.

“We will have a little ceremony and blessing of the garden on Sunday outside,” said Reverend Chung. “We will have a prayer and scripture reading to thank Julia and God for the creation of the garden.”

Despite fulfilling all of the requirements for the Gold Award, Codere hasn’t officially earned it yet. She said she will begin the interview process this week before entering a week-long waiting period.

“I’m excited and nervous,” said Codere.

In order to formally present her project and to help others learn about how people from other cultures deal with stress, Codere is creating a website that she said will be live before she is interviewed.

To stay updated on Codere’s award status stay tuned to