By: Megan Roche
Thanks to Girl Scout Troop 7872 of Mount Olive and Stanhope, local parks are getting an upgrade in the trash department.
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, the girls of Troop 7872 took to outdoor activities like hiking. As they were on hikes, each girl noticed that the amount of litter on the trails like gloves and masks were getting worse with each trek.
Troop leaders Allyson Galinis and Dawn Perry took action with the girls. The fourth graders of the troop decided to spring into action. Galinis and Perry spoke to the girls about the problems that they saw, asking them if they would like to start a Take Action project. A Take Action project helps the girls earn badges and make a lasting impact in their community.
“Girl Scouts has a very specific way on how girls are supposed to do a project. The girls are supposed to find something that bothers them, or they see needs to be fixed, and try to solve the problem. It doesn’t matter how many times they have to go back to the drawing board; the whole idea is that they follow through and make a difference,” Galinis said.
Each girl was excited about bettering the community so through education, they decided to come up with a sign that could be displayed at parks and trails throughout the area. With excitement and a raring-to-go attitude, the girls began dreaming up anything they could for their new project. By the September meeting, the project was in full swing.
“At our September meeting, each girl took their idea and started to put it together. One girl took charge, breaking out jobs; three girls would draw individual pictures of the beaver, the world and the bag, the two others would come up with the saying. Within just a minute, one of the girls came up with the saying and they had their sign,” Galinis said.
While the project was about bettering the planet by keeping littering to a minimum, the girls also learned about the importance of budgeting, how many signs to create, and the process of paperwork to get approval by the town.
“This was their project, this was all them. They needed to see this through. It’s easy for an adult to get something like this done. They need to learn from this experience. It’s their money, they are the ones who are going out and earning this money so I can’t just step in and make the decisions for them,” Galinis said.
For Galinis and Perry, they couldn’t be prouder of their scouts. What started out as the leaders being best friends, they’ve also shown their scouts life skills.
“We are the leaders of the troop and best friends. That’s why we have girls from two different towns who all from day one meshed perfectly together. These girls are so dedicated, have wonderful ideas, work as a team and have fun! These girls really amaze us and bring us to happy tears,” Galinis said.
To date, two of the five signs that the girls designed are displayed in Mount Olive. The remaining signs will be posted in Morris and Sussex counties.