When the pandemic hit, the 15 young women from Girl Scout Troop 65430 in Highlands Ranch, Colo. didn’t know how to make personal protective equipment that would keep teachers and students safe. But that didn’t stop them.
“My troop and I came up with the idea because we had a Zoom meeting with our principal Ms. Milley, and we needed things that would create safer environment for staff and students at Wildcat Mountain Elementary School,” Emma Bangertner, 10, tells Yahoo Life. “We didn’t exactly think of it right away, but we needed things that would ease the tension for going back to school for everyone. We landed on making masks, mask lanyards and sneeze guards.”
The scouts watched videos they found online that taught them how to construct the necessary PPE. But first, they had to fund their endeavor. Because the Girl Scouts are girl-led, each troop gets to determine what they do with a portion of the funds they raise through cookie sales. That’s when they realized they could use some of the money they’d raised this past winter to buy the materials to make PPE for classrooms.
“It was a really cool experience. Not only did I learn how to help my community, but I also learned how to become a better leader, and how to use a drill,” says Bangertner, who has been a Girl Scout for six years and aspires to become a naval aviator.
Meanwhile, classes are already back in session at the troop’s school, albeit on a reduced, hybrid system. But the PPE that Troop 65430 created has already been put to use.
“Ms. Milley, our principal, was so proud and happy we had made a difference in our community that she cried,” says Bangertner.
The troop was so successful making PPE, they even scored the coveted Girl Scout Bronze Award, known as the highest award for Girl Scouts in the 4th or 5th grade. In order to qualify, a troop must identify a problem in their community and do their best to solve it, while also spending 20 hours on the project.
“I’m so incredibly proud of these girls. They really stepped up and made a difference, and the amount of leadership they have exhibited in the last couple of months has just been inspirational,” says Emma’s mom, Randi Bangertner, who also serves as troop leader. “I think the best part of this project for me was seeing how well they came together and worked as a team.”
Troop 65430 aren’t the only Girl Scouts making waves to help those dealing with the effects of COVID-19. In New Mexico and Texas, cookies were donated to essential workers and the elderly, while Skyla Marroquin, a rising 7th grader from McAllen, Texas, created a gift bag program for nurses at the hospital where her great-grandma recovered from COVID-19.
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.
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