A summer journey: Local Scout troop works to meet local needs
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – When Wisconsin schools closed in March, four members of Stevens Point’s Girl Scout Troop No. 6257 embarked on a summer journey to help others in the community.
As the troop switched to virtual meetings, four Junior Scouts – Hannah Kubs, Norah Lawrence, Lauren Mercer, and Caroline Dailey – used those meetings to “research the importance of masks and plan their award project.”
“The Juniors completed what is known as a Junior Journey, which must be accomplished prior to beginning the Bronze Award,” says mom, Kristi Kubs. “The Bronze Award is the third highest award in Girl Scouts of the USA, and can only be earned by Girl Scouts at the Junior level.
“The Bronze Award Project is a team effort by a group of Juniors, usually from a single troop.”
The project must also benefit the community or scouting as a whole, and each scout must contribute 20 hours of week; however, unlike the Girl Scout’s Silver and Gold awards, adults can assist the group.
“As the girls explored their community, one thing became very clear, their community and its needs changed very drastically in a short period of time,” Kristi explained. “They wanted to help, and focus their Bronze Award project around these new needs. Seeming as all four of these girls were completing fourth grade and about to become fifth graders, they wanted, more than anything, to return to school.
“They decided their best way to help, would be to make sure their classmates could each have a reusable face mask for when the school year started, because back in May, it looked as if COVID-19 was very much still going to be around. They wanted, more than anything, for their classmates to be able to keep each other and their teachers safe.”
The girls started with the initial goal of 100 masks – one each for the 70 members of their class, plus extra.
The girls gathered in one family’s driveway and learned how to use sewing machines and assemble masks, all while social distancing.
“This was quite the visual as each girl brought their mother, their mother’s sewing machine, a folding table, folding chairs, and each set up their own sewing station six feet away from anyone else, using electrical cords in the driveway,” Kristi explained.
When they completed the masks, the girls had more than doubled their goal – at 207.
When reaching out to McKinley Elementary School Principal Amanda Zanchetti-Mayo, she suggested that the girls distribute them with Project Fresh Start.
“The girls loved this idea, to say the least, as so much has changed since the plan and goal were initially set,” Kristi recalled. “They thought that this way, kids and families who really needed them would get them. This also allows for the school to just have a small stash on hand for when they are needed most.”
Though the project took a long time to complete, Dailey said that it wasn’t hard to keep going through the monotony of making the same mask over and over, as she knew “it was for a good cause and important for kids to have by the time school started, (and they) had to make that deadline.”
Hannah said she felt “happy and glad” finishing the project, as “now kids can have masks to wear who might need them; glad because I hope they can help slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“It makes me feel happy and proud, like ‘I made that!’”