Girls help teens, pets

FAIRMONT – Eighth-grader Courtney Lopau knew that little kids undergoing same-day surgery at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont receive Kid Kare Kits, which are packages of activities and gifts intended to entertain them in an unfamiliar situation. But what about older kids and teenagers?

It was a problem she wanted to correct, and she had the tools to do something about it.

She and fellow Girl Scout Emma Koehler took to the task, earning money, collecting donations and making items to be given to teenagers at the medical center. The kits include a fleece blanket, which the girls hand-tied, pillow cases sewn with a frame for friends to sign, and thank you cards.

Koehler and Lopau chose the contents based on what they thought they would like, as well as by searching online for ideas.

“Not everyone has a cast to sign,” said Lopau, referring to the pillow cases.

The project earned them their Silver Award, the highest award offered to Cadette Girl Scouts and the second-highest award bestowed on a Scout at any level.

Fellow troop member Jenna Pavich also completed her award last week, although she took a different route.

“I thought about what I like,” she said, “and I love animals.”

Pavich chose to make pet beds for animals at the Carl Nettifee Memorial Animal Shelter in Fairmont.

The Girl Scouts are required to meet certain standards before completing their award, including completing a Bronze award project as Junior Girl Scouts, putting in 50 or more hours of planning and implementation, and involving the community.

The experience taught them about getting involved in their communities, making a difference for others and record-keeping.

“Every time we got together we had to write down our time, even if we talked on the phone for just five minutes,” Lopau said. “We had to keep all our receipts.”

Koehler, Lopau and Pavich all involved their churches in their projects, accepting donations of materials and offers to help sew.

While the three Girl Scouts completed their projects within the past week, the other two members of their troop, 30213, earned Silver Awards earlier this year. One worked on sprucing up Jeffrey Kot soccer field in Fairmont while another worked to supply Options Pregnancy Center with donations of hats, blankets and diapers.

There is one more major award for the girls to work toward after they bridge to Senior Girl Scouts at the end of the year: the Gold Award. Koehler, Lopau and Pavich have not decided what direction they will take when the time comes for deciding on a Gold Award project.

“I think they are still coming down from earning their Silver Award,” said assistant troop leader Dawn Lopau.