A troop of local Girl Scouts made a camp director’s wish come true. In the process, they learned how community minded area businesses can be. It started when Jessica Schiff, director for Camp Roundelay, spoke to Troop 4487 about camp opportunities. The five girls from Superior Middle School asked how they could help, and a service project was born.
“They want to do different things throughout our community and kind of give back,” said troop leader Tracy Middleton. “And boy, that just kind of fell into our laps.” Schiff showed them a camp wish list, and they decided to donate one of the six picnic tables on the list. The girls pooled cookie money to raise $90 for the table. Then a family member pledged to contribute another. The girls wondered how they could collect more. Caitlynn Martineau’s dad suggested they ask local businesses.
Armed with a pack of letters, they walked into Benna Ford to meet with Pat Ringold and his wife. “They wanted to give us three picnic tables,” Katie Warren said. Ringold took the time to really talk to the girls. As with many of their projects, it gave the scouts a glimpse into future careers and goals. “He talked directly to the kids. He specified the importance of a good education and women can be a strong asset to the work environment,” Middleton said. “I’ve actually gotten that every time we’ve done something like this.” It was a great feeling, Katie said. “We go in there asking for one table and we get three,” she said.
The girls then went to Hartel’s / DBJ Disposal to ask for help. “It’s easy for me because my dad works there,” Caitlynn said. The business donated $90 for another table. Last on the list was Aces on 29th. Why did they choose to go to the restaurant? “Well, they do have good wings,” said Mollie Middleton.
Owner Mark Carlson wasn’t there, but the girls dropped off a packet of information. Right away, Carlson called back and donated a table. Talking to business people was scary, but fun, said Morgan Brown. “I learned they like to give back to the community,” Caitlynn said. Each talk was a positive experience, thanks to the businesses. “They were so generous, so nice and so personal with each of these girls,” Middleton said. “It was heartwarming.” And their generosity, she said, spreads to the girls in the troop. “It’s just so nice to be a part of that and knowing that someday these kids, you know they’ll be giving back the same way,” Middleton said.
Phase two of the project was putting the tables together. Once they had the materials, the scouts and their fathers gathered on Mother’s Day to build tables. “It was fun; a good experience,” Caitlynn said. “Just hang out time, bonding a little bit together.” Not only did they bond, they bolted, hammered and drilled. Katie said she enjoyed working with her grandpa for the project. The tables were delivered to the Wisconsin camp last week. Scouts like Troop 4487 and their families have stepped forward to help with camp work days and wish lists, Schiff said. “We are definitely on a great track with all the wonderful support that we’ve been getting,” she said.
The SMS troop has been together for seven years. They started at Lake Superior Elementary School when members were in kindergarten. “In summertime, it’s a way to see friends and stuff, work with a great leader,” said Katie, who’s been with the troop for three years. “I like the badges, working on them out of the book,” said founding member Mollie. “It gives you something to do over the summer.” “It’s a good way to meet new friends and hang out with your friends during summer,” Caitlynn said. “And it’s just fun. We do a lot of fun activities.”
Along with traditional outdoors-related projects, members have earned badges for first aid, world cooking and getting to know different religions. They spent a chilly night at Camp Roundelay together, and had a sleepover at the Lake Superior Zoo. In July, they will bus down to Chicago for a five-day trip. “They’ve got an itinerary that’s amazing,” Middleton said. When she became troop leader seven years ago, it was tough going at first. Now, it’s a joy. “Having a group like this makes it so easy and so fun to just come up with nice ideas that blends the fun and yet giving back to our community and thinking of others,” Middleton said. –Superior Telegram