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On Friday, March 13th 2020, at 5pm, nine 4th grade Girl Scouts from Deer Creek School were gathered around the table of their troop eader, Shannon Rashby. They were making duct tape wallets when the email came from Nevada County Superintendent of Schools.  Shannon read it to the girls—schools would transition to distance learning for one month. The room erupted into a combination of cheers and boos from the girls.  

“I was cheering that day,” said Girl Scout, Clover Rashby, “but I regret it now.”  

That was the last day that Troop 181 met together in person. 

It has now been one whole year of only meeting on Zoom.

THE BRONZE AWARD

The Bronze Award is the third highest award in Girl Scouts, and it is the first step on the path to earning the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts. It can only be earned while a scout is in the “Junior” level of Girl Scouts, which is 4th and 5th grade. This means that Troop 181 had a dilemma; they graduated to 5th grade during a pandemic, and knew that if they were going to earn their Bronze Award, it would have to be done in quarantine.

 Photo of Girl Scout Troop 181 taken pre-pandemic (l-r): Clover Rashby, Sybella Wasson, Esther Goldman, Ella McElhannon, Luca Petty, Marin Lackey, Ashlyn Lamp, and Rama James (not pictured Cecilia Baca)

Fortunately, the girls had already completed the first few requirements to earn the Bronze Award before the pandemic hit, but the largest part—the community service project, had not been started. The Girl Scouts knew they had to choose a project that they could do together without actually getting together. They spent weeks brainstorming ideas when finally, an idea came to them that they unanimously supported. They wanted to make cards for seniors.

“People are going through a tough time right now. We thought these cards would brighten their days,” said Girl Scout, Ashlyn Lampe.   

The troop reached out to Meals on Wheels who delivers 52,000 meals per year to local seniors who are unable to prepare meals and/or have difficulty shopping. They agreed that their clients would love to receive a handmade card with their meal.

The Girl Scouts got to work, making cards every Monday, for three months, as part of their Girl Scout Zoom meeting. By the beginning of March, they had made nearly 300 cards.

When asked how it felt to make so many cards, Girl Scout, Esther Goldman said, “It felt amazing to know that our cards would bring smiles to people’s faces.”

Photo of cards handmade by Girl Scouts for Meals on Wheels clients

Since it is cookie season, the Girl Scouts were also able to donate some cookies to Meals on Wheels along with their cards.

“Thank you to Girl Scout Troop 181 for the wonderful cards and cookies donated to bring a smile to the Meals on Wheels seniors and remind them our community supports them, said Janeth Marroletti, Executive Director.

“It’s been a tough year,” said Troop Leader, Shannon Rashby. “The girls miss each other so much. I am so proud of the girls for finding a way to give back to their community despite COVID-19 restrictions. They earned their Bronze Award, and they are ready to bridge from Juniors to Cadettes this spring.”

The troop is hoping that they will get to have the time-honored Bridging Ceremony in person, but if not, they’ll figure out how to do that on Zoom too. A pandemic can’t stop Girl Scouts! 

The following Girl Scouts earned their Bronze Award: Ashlyn Lampe, Cecilia Baca, Clover Rashby, Ella McElhannon, Esther Goldman, Luca Petty, Marin Lackey, Rama James and Sybella Wasson.