What would you do to make a change in your community? Would you put a smile on a cancer patient’s face? Would you turn Wonder Woman into a thespian? Would you create memories with friends? Girl Scout Cadette Troop 30164 of Abita Springs earned the Silver Award, the highest award available for Girl Scout Cadettes, by sewing pillows for patients at local cancer treatment centers and reading books to local children.
The Silver Award Girl Scouts formed two groups on a mission to make a difference over the summer. One group wanted to make cancer patients more comfortable while going through treatment, and the other group wanted to give back to children by reading and showing them reading can be fun. Earning the Girl Scout Silver Award shows members’, grades six through eight, commitment to helping others, improving her community, the world, and becoming the best she can be.
The Cancer Pillows Project was created to provide gifts from the heart, and to let patients know the girls were thinking about them through their time of need.
“The project matters to our group because all of our team members have lost or knows someone who has experienced cancer,” Sophia Bernard said. The Cadettes wanted the mementos to be a symbolism of peace from the troop.
The troop spent one day in May with the patients of the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, in New Orleans, and showed love by sewing heart-shaped pillows with handles and bright colors, and making no sew blankets. They also cooked a delicious spaghetti meal with salad and homemade cakes, and learned how far patients travel to visit the facility. The girls provided over 60 pillows and four blankets.
After spending time at Hope Lodge, the thoughtful Girl Scouts saw a need to continue making pillows for others. They increased their pillow goal from 100 to 250, and gave over 150 pillows to patients at Mary Bird Perkins in Covington.
“Cancer does not just affect the patient, but it also affects their family and friends. Every person in the world should be compassionate to other’s struggles,” Jenny Lambert said.
The Cadettes learned about the patients’ lives beyond their diagnosis, and were able to educate others about cancer during the Famers Market and Fourth of July celebration at Abita Park. They also donated their fabrics to the Abita Friendship Group. Meanwhile, the second group of Cadettes learned to have patience while reading to local children.
The For the Love of Reading project used creative concepts to engage children and teach them a more traditional way of learning opposed to using cellphone and tablets.
“Books can make you communicate with a better vocabulary, you gain creativity and you train yourself to focus more,” said Hannah Edgerson. The Cadettes believed people were too consumed with handheld technology and wanted children to use their imagination, not glue themselves to electronics.
The first step was to get library cards for each girl and collect books for their book drive goal. They read to children at Barnes and Noble, in Mandeville, every Saturday in May, and performed a play based on Steve Korte’s Wonder Woman: I am an Amazon Warrior. The talented Girl Scouts wrote the script, designed costumes and built props for the stage to keep their audience entertained.
The girls also shared their love for reading with four and five year olds on Wednesdays, in June and July, at Abita Camp in Abita Springs. “We were able to share our love of reading with many kids and adults in our area and we gave some fun ideas to explore their imaginations,” said Emily Hamby.
The Silver Award Girl Scouts doubled their book collection goal of 300 and donated 600 books to local libraries and an orphanage. The Barnes and Noble in Mandeville also plans to continue inviting guest to read to children, so they have a lasting love for reading, like the girls in Girl Scout Cadette Troop 30164.
The troop made and sold baked goods, bath bombs and salts, coasters, flower crowns and more in July, and sold hot dogs and chili at the Abita Springs Fourth of July celebration. Proceeds benefited materials for each project, such as fabric for the pillows and bookmarks to give to children as a keep-sake.
For information on how you can join or volunteer with Girl Scouts locally, visit the council website at www.gsle.org