Girl Scouts earn award by helping cats at Caring Hands

Girl Scout Troop 41384 members Scout Wedel, Kelsey Wolfe, Kaitlyn Schmidt and Diana Haines, play with a cat on Monday afternoon at Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton. The Girl Scouts made the cat tower the cat is lying in, as well as scratch pads and toys for the cats there for their Bronze Award. Not pictured is Breckyn Weimer.

By Wendy Nugent

NEWTON—A cat in a cage at Caring Hands Humane Society looked a little haggard Monday. The kitty was made to stay in the cage because he or she was getting treatment, while other cats and at least one kitten ran around the room.

They played, went out the kitty door to the outside and ran around.

One Girl Scout Troop 41384 member, Scout Wedel, talked to the cat.

“I can’t play with you,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

She and three other Junior Girl Scouts, Kaitlyn Schmidt, Diana Haines and Kelsey Wolfe, visited the humane society on Monday afternoon, where they delivered a cat tower they made. It’s the second one they’ve delivered, as well as homemade scratch pads and toys. One troop member, Breckyn Weimer, was not able to be there on Monday. The cat tower includes a place on the top for cats to rest and toys dangling from the top down the sides.

Girl Scouts Diana Haines, left, and Kaitlyn Schmidt play with a cat on Monday at Caring Hands Humane Society.

“What this is is our Bronze Award project,” one of the troop leaders, Gayle Wolfe said. “This is the highest that the Junior Girl Scouts can earn. Each girl needs to spend 20 hours on the project.”

The project includes finding a need in the community and then the girls needed to plan their project and make it sustainable.

“The way they made it sustainable is we provided instructions for the cat towers, scratch pads and toys,” Wolfe said.

They gave the directions on how to make those to the humane society, which will post them on their website for the Girl Scouts, Wolfe said.

The girls worked for quite a few months on the project, in troop meetings and at home.

They also recycled with the project.

“We gave multiple scratch pads that we made with our Girl Scout cookie boxes, so we used our resources wisely,” Wolfe said.

The girls took part in the project to get a Bronze Award, and they also did an outdoor journey, where they earned three badges—eco camper, camper and animal habitats.

Then, they had to work for a take-action badge.

“They talked about the seven steps of the Leave No Trace Principles,” Wolfe said, adding the paperwork for the award has been turned into the Girl Scouts of the Kansas Heartland, but they haven’t heard back, yet.

The Girl Scouts have, however, completed the Bronze Award requirements.

They completed all their hours this past week.

The next level after the Bronze Award is the Silver Award, which is more in-depth, Wolfe said, and then the Gold Award, which is comparable to the Boy Scout Eagle Award.

The girls learned a few things through this experience.

“That cats are so cute and it was really fun,” Haines said. “Kinda learned that the kitties are really cute and we like making stuff for them. We wanted to, like, make toys for them, like we were going to make just cat scratches for them, but then it turned into a bunch of toys.”

Wolfe shared one of the things she thought they learned.

“They found out 20 hours is a lot of hours,” she said.

Through the process, Wedel said she learned to sew and that she likes it. She said her family has two cats, Flash and Daisy.

The award will be a pin that goes on the girls’ vests.

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