Members of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Troop 130.
GLEN CARBON — Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Troop 130 has made a habit of giving back to the community — and all of these good deeds have been good for them, too.
The troop, made up of 23 girls from the Riverbend who range from second- to seventh-graders, completes many community service projects each year.
The troop most recently delivered 136 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the Meals on Wheels sponsored by Senior Services Plus in Alton. Along with cookies, girls made cards, bookmarks and picture frames to spread cheer to senior citizens.
To celebrate Girl Scouts’ birthday in March, the troop made Birthday in a Bag kits containing items such as cake mix, streamers and party favors. These were donated to Riverbend Family Ministries, which assists children in emergency foster care situations and personal crisis such as home loss, fire or parental death.
“The girls have fun giving back,” Troop Leader Jennifer Melton said. “They are learning that no matter how big or small the project is, they can make a difference.”
The girls frequently volunteer at pancake and sausage breakfasts held by the Wood River Masonic Lodge, where they hold their troop meetings. The funds earned by this event, where the girls help serve and clean up, is used to fund local scholarships.
“They don’t realize they’re getting great job training,” Melton said. “They can make mistakes here, learn from them and be ready for their first job in high school or college — and they think they are just having fun.”
On a larger scale, Troop 130 is a regular contributor to biannual Girl Scout council-wide community service projects. During the eight years the troop has been active, projects have included making blankets for St. Louis Children’s Hospital, helping animal shelters, doing work and donating equipment for area camps, and baking treats for police, fire and ambulance stations.
One experience that stands out to the girls is volunteering at a baby shower hosted by an all-female American Legion Post for active military members or reservists. The troop provided small gift bags for the mothers being honored and baked bread for attendees. The girls also helped serve refreshments and carry gifts, as well as greeting servicewomen and guests in attendance.
Melton recalled how one of her troop members ended up sitting with a retired four-star general, who later pulled her aside to share compliments about the young Girl Scout. The general’s positive attitude seemed to be the consensus — as Troop 130 was asked by the American Legion to help at an upcoming event honoring female veterans.
“I saw a new side to many of these girls,” she said. “I know they are amazing individuals, but I was awestruck with their maturity shown that day.”
Another experience the girls especially enjoyed was volunteering at the Special Olympics Spring Games, where they spent six hours getting medals and ribbons ready for event winners and cheering on athletes. Troop members had such a great time they will be returning to volunteer again this year.
“Ultimately, the girls are learning the joy in giving back,” Melton said. “They are also learning some valuable life lessons — gaining confidence and skills while having fun.”
For more information, visit www.gsofsi.org.
Daisy troop donates items to Hope Animal Rescues
EDWARDSVILLE — Edwardsville Daisy Troop 2 recently presented Hope Animal Rescues with items collected during the spring Paw-some Pets service project, sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois.
The items were presented April 2 during Hope Animal Rescues’ adoption event at Petco in Edwardsville.
Members of Daisy Troop 2 collected more than 50 items including paper towels, newspapers, cleaning supplies, dog food and dog treats. The troop donated the collected items to Hope Animal Rescues and Partners for Pets.
The spring 2016 Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Council-Wide Service Project: Paw-Some Pets challenged Girl Scouts to help the animal shelter of their choice by either collecting and donating needed items or by volunteering at least five hours of their time.
Members of Daisy Troop 2 reside in Edwardsville, Glen Carbon and Hamel.