CHAMPLAIN - Teaching leadership skills is one of the goals for the Girl Scouts. One local troop has come up with a unique way to put these skills to use, as well as helping the community. On Wednesday, May 19, the Northeastern Clinton Girl Scout Brownie Troop 4027, based in Champlain, will be at the Champlain Volunteer Fire Department, 162 Elm St., from 5:30-7:30 p.m., collecting new and gently used teddy bears and stuffed animals.
"We're accepting all kinds of stuffed animals," said troop leader Kenna Dumas. "It can be anything."
The idea for the teddy bear/stuffed animal drive came when Dumas found out the Champlain Rescue Squad has three ambulances with stuffed animals to give to children during emergency situations.
"It usually calms [children] down," explained assistant captain Cory Thompson. "They might have a favorite blanket or a favorite toy and as they're being whisked off in the ambulance, you tend to forget those things." Thompson said many children can be nervous in the ambulance but when they receive a stuffed animal "they see we're on their side, there's nothing to be afraid of."
Dumas said when her troop was discussing ways to help the community, many of the children "wanted to do [the drive] to make other kids happy and ... help them not to be scared."
The drive is part of a new program the Brownie troop is working on called "Journeys," where they earn "keys" by completing steps of the program.
The first key - the Discover Key - is when the girls learn more about themselves.
"Their qualities and their values and what they can contribute as being themselves," Dumas explained.
The second key - the Connect Key - is when they work with their family.
"They lead their family in a healthy-living activity kind of thing," Dumas said.
The third key - the Take Action Key - is what the girls will accomplish with the drive.
"[They had to] find something in the community that needed fixing or attention or something they could do just to make the community better," Dumas explained. "They think of the idea, they make the decision, they plan how they're going to do it, and then of course [May 19] will be the actual 'taking action.'"
She said she hopes the community will contribute to the cause to help the girls complete their goal and help other children.
"It will help them see what they're doing to help make a difference in the community," Dumas said. "It will help the children that actually need them."
"It's a good way to help two community associations," said Thompson. "[The Girl Scouts are] doing a great thing for us and in turn we get to give back their contributions and their donations back to the community. It's kind of friends helping friends, neighbors helping neighbors."
If unable to bring a donation the day of the event, contact co-leader Debbie Jolicoeur at 298-4611.