The members of Senior Girl Scout Troop #379 are 15-16 years old and currently attend 11th grade at Petoskey High School. Troop members include Candace Blandford, Katharyn Burke, Erin Clark, Brittany Cox, Courtney Graham, Lauren Graham, Susie Marvin, Meghan McCullough, Courtney Nicholas, Annika Rettstadt and Brittany Woodard. To date, troop members have logged almost 4,000 hours of service as a group and an average of over 350 hours per scout. Troop #379 has earned the designation of “Honor Troop” annually since its inception from the Girl Scouts of Crooked Tree Council.
Members of Girl Scout Troop #379 have been involved in a myriad of service projects spanning the last 11 years. They have provided service to other scouts (Pancake Breakfast fund raiser for Girl Scout Camp Charlevoix, International Friendship Day, badge and craft events for younger scouts), their school (playground beautification, babysitting for the PTO, carrying out a two-year cardboard and tin recycling program, “Scouts Sort & Salvage” project that was recognized by Emmet County Recycling and the Colgate Youth For America campaign, flag ceremonies for their school and school board) and their community (providing service to the Emmet County Care Facility, Northern Michigan Hospitals, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, See-North environmental organization, Emmet County Cancer Relay for Life, the Petoskey Children’s Nursery, North Central Michigan College, Bortz Nursing Home, the District Health Department, Father Dan’s Food Pantry).
In honor of school board recognition month in January of 2005, members of Girl Scout Troop #379 culminated the second phase of their three yearlong “AEDs For Life” service project by donating six automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) with adult and pediatric electrodes, 6 wall cabinets and one AED trainer to the Public Schools of Petoskey. Grants written by the scouts provided funding to train or re-certify 100+ staff members in the Petoskey Schools. The scouts have maintained their CPR/AED/First Aide certification to date. They were recognized for this project by receipt of an American Red Cross Everyday Heroes Award and as one of the five finalists for the Governor’s Service Award in Michigan.
The scouts have forged a special relationship with their sponsor, VFW Post 2051. For the last four years, the troop has assisted the Post with their Veterans Day ceremony and partnered with the veterans in the “Cookies and Calling Cards” project to send Girl Scout cookies and pre-paid phone calling cards to our soldiers on the ground in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Iraq.
The scouts have now embarked on their final big service project before high school graduation, “Flowers For Friends”. Girl Scout Troop #379 has begun to recycle flowers from funerals, weddings and other community events that would otherwise be thrown away, into smaller arrangements to be delivered to nursing homes, disabled veterans, infusion centers, hospice patients and other community members who are isolated and in need of a smile. Each arrangement will have a card recognizing the donor and indicating “In honor of the marriage of…”, “In honor of the life of….” The scouts obtain supplies, rebuild and deliver arrangements, make meaningful contact with recipients and handle all other aspects of moving this project forward. The project will span over the course of 18 months. It is the intention of the group to train another group of volunteers to then carry the project forward. Although all Girl Scout troops provide service to others, this Troop has gone far above and beyond any ordinary expectation. In far too many ways to enumerate here, these scouts have impacted many lives in their community. In partnership with local veterans, their efforts have impacted soldiers in Cuba, Iraq and nursing homes. Through their service, they have built relationships with elders and youth, with health providers and environmental conservationists, with social agencies and schools, to name just a few.