Oak Park-Carpenter Girl Scouts Give Back

Clothing Exchange_Girl Scouts
Shawnee Mission School District

Using teamwork and a few power tools, Girl Scout Troop #582 built a new donation bin for the Shawnee Mission Area Council (SMAC) PTA Clothing Exchange.

This troop, made up of Oak Park-Carpenter Elementary students presented the bin this week.  It will be used by community members dropping off Clothing Exchange donations at the Shawnee Mission Early Childhood Education Center (SMECEC). Their work resulted in a Bronze Award – the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can achieve.

In order to earn The Bronze Award, Girl Scouts must complete a sustainable project, impacting the community. Community members are able to use the bin to donate new and gently used clothing and shoes. Shawnee Mission School District families in need are able to shop at the clothing exchange for items they need.

The troop secured donations for their project and collaborated with professionals from Weigel Construction who donated workspace, tools, and instructional time. The scouts worked together to identify the best materials, manageable size and any extra features that would contribute to the overall use of the bin. They also toured and volunteered at the Clothing Exchange to learn more about how their donation bin would serve the community.

As the Troop presented the finished project to Clothing Exchange volunteers and SMECEC team members, the students talked about their experiences of learning new life skills, along with building their confidence in these life skills. They shared they learned to use power tools, measure and cut wood, and to collaborate and compromise while working together.  Some discovered new interest in using power tools. The Troop also contributed to the bin for the first time with donations they collected.

The Troop’s original plan was to build a Free Little Library for SMECEC in honor of a classmate that died in 2018. They wanted to honor this classmate’s love of reading. However, upon learning of a request for a donation bin they felt this was a more immediate need and decided to do both projects. The Troop will be creating and building the Free Little Library to donate to SMECEC next Spring. The bin and new library are marked with a dedication plaque to their classmate.

“These girls have worked hard to honor their friend’s memory and I am so proud of what they’ve accomplished and what they’ve learned through this process,” Kimberly Hurtado-Herring, Troop leader shared. “This demonstrates who they are: such a special group of girls. They are looking forward to beginning their Little Library project.”