April 25, 2012 - Olivia Shumaker
Members of Girl Scout Troop 13354, from Paint Creek, pet one of the hopeful pets they wrote a PSA about. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
Donating time is an act few have time for, but for Girl Scout Troop 13354 of Paint Creek Elementary School, giving time, energy, and donations to the Oakland Pet Adoption Center was a work of love and learning to help others.
As part of a troop project, the 14 members of Troop 13354 created their own public service announcement on behalf of the Oakland Pet Adoption Center.
"They were trying to find a thing that they knew they would be able to touch the most," said Sheri Rourke, the troop's co-leader.
The project began as a troop effort toward the Bronze Award, one of only three major awards for Girl Scouts that are nationally recognized. Not all troops receive the award, as it is highly involved, so it helps that, "They love to do the badges," Rourke said.
In the project, the girls of 13354 had to come up with a specific organization that they planned to help and so the girls spent a great deal of time researching causes, countries, and organizations that they could possibly help. Then, in roughly a month-long elimination process, the troop settled on the Oakland Pet Adoption Center.
"It would be difficult for them to get in touch with the older generation when they're in school all day and are 10 or nine years old and not able to drive," Rourke said. "They felt that as kids their age they would be able to help the Oakland County animal shelter the most."
Once settling on the adoption center, the troop members took on specific tasks and visited the center with specific questions about what donation items were in demand. Then, regrouping, they compiled a list of what the center needed in donations. Since they felt it would be more logical to appeal to their peers the girls decided to involve all of Paint Creek Elementary School, classroom by classroom. After all, they recognize well that kids and pets go together.
Using their list, the troop developed a point system for each item that the center needed, varying based on the size of the donation. For example, a toy would be worth one point, and a bag with four toys in it would count for four points, and so on. Brushing up this system as they went, the troop created a contest between classrooms to collect the most donations for the shelter, providing donation boxes with lists of acceptable items. The troop then selected first and second place prizes, funded by their cookie proceeds.
"They decided that for the first place classroom, the winner would get a pizza party," Rourke said. "The second place classroom, they're going to provide an ice cream party."
The troop ran their contest through the month of April. They created a public service announcement to excite their classmates about donating, with the help filming from ON-TV, arranged by troop co-leader Sandra Rahman. As they were not allowed to be affected by outside influences, including adults, the girls did almost all of the work themselves. They have been recognized by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson for their efforts.
Outside of major projects like their Bronze Award effort, the troop also does typical Girl Scout things, including camping and selling cookies, as well as field trips to places including Cranbrook and Dodge mansion.
Ultimately, though, the members of troop 13354 find service projects like the one they did for the Bronze Award to be just as rewarding.
"You don't have to be an adult to make a difference. You can have an impact, no matter what age," Rourke said. "They really realized that it doesn't matter."
To see the troop's public service announcement, search oakland pet adoption center psa on google.com.