By EMILY SAWICKI | Reporter
The mission of each Girl Scout is set out in the Girl Scout Law, which includes “use resources wisely, make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”
The girls of Pacific Palisades Junior Girl Scout Troop 1225 lived out that challenge earlier this year, working together to help “make the world a better place” for dozens of dogs in the care of local dog rescue Wags & Walks. In doing so, they also earned the prestigious Bronze Award, the first step toward the Gold Awards they could earn as Senior Girl Scouts.
“There are three levels of awards in scouting,” Troop Leader Christine Abraham described, with the Bronze Award completed during elementary school.
According to Christine, earning a Gold Award is a major accomplishment scouts should strive for.
“We look at congresswomen, we look at senators, judges, leaders in the military, corporate leaders, academia—these are women, when you look at their resumes, they have their Gold Awards,” Christine explained. “It’s a big deal. It’s a commitment; it’s really hard.
“A girl who earns her Girl Scout Gold Award? It’s something she works really hard at and it’s a big deal.”
Wags & Walks, which is located in West LA, cares for up to two dozen dogs at a time in its shelter location, with many more looked after in foster homes across the area.
The girls “used resources wisely”—donating dog food and snacks, towels, blankets, kennels, safety gates, leashes, and collars with proceeds they earned from cookie sales earlier in the year.
Scouts also hand-wove more than 50 chew toys for the rescue pups—an effort that didn’t go unnoticed by Wags & Walks volunteer and development coordinator Chloe Esperiquette.
“They brought a bunch of donations: blankets, towels, toys and treats—and all sorts of goodies,” Esperiquette said. She added that the rescue relies heavily on volunteers.
According to Christine, girls in the troop voted on how best to allocate their cookie funds and which service project they should choose, finally landing on Wags & Walks.
“The girls decided that they had to do a service project, and that’s how they ended up earning their Bronze Award,” Christine said. “They decided to help an animal cause.”
To Christine’s daughter Alexandra, the outing was an experience in seeing how the troop’s efforts could make a difference in the world.
“It gave us confidence and really showed that what we’ve been doing for five years in Girl Scouts has been worth it and we can go on to bigger projects, and makes us feel really successful,” Alexandra said. “I enjoyed when we got to come together and make all the dog toys. Delivering everything we had gotten was also really fun because we got to see the shelter and see that what we were doing actually made a difference.”
After so many years together, they have also taken to heart the Girl Scout Law’s challenge of being “a sister to every Girl Scout.”
Both Christine and Alexandra said they hoped the experience was just the first of many service opportunities for the troop, which formed when many of its members were in kindergarten together and meets at Marquez Charter Elementary School.
“I want them to stick to it because it really makes a difference to see these girls come together, year after year, doing these projects together,” Christine said.
“It’s really nice to have a group of girls where we can all come together and do something amazing and help our community,” her daughter agreed. “I want to do Girl Scouts until I get my Gold Award, and I think having this group of girls is really helpful and really fun.”