Girl Scout Troop 1508 saw a photo of the children who are in the orphanage making hearts with their hands and wanted to send the same message back.
Sixteen Casper Girl Scouts decided to do something really different with the profits from their cookie sales this year. The girls are buying shoes for the residents of an orphanage in Cambodia.
The girls, ranging in age from 3rd to 6th grade, were discussing the differences between needs and wants at a scout meeting. “We talked about how some people need things, like food, and that wants are things you can do without,” said co-leader Makayla Moore. Moore is a staff writer at the Casper Journal and had recently written a story about human trafficking and an orphanage in Cambodia. She used the girls in the orphanage as an example to clarify the difference between needs and wants.
The girls considered the things they took for granted. What would happen to them if something happened to their parents, where would they live? How would they survive? What would it be like to be alone? How would it affect their needs and wants?
They discussed how the girls in the orphanage don’t have families and how the orphanage may be the only place they feel safe. Moore said they may need things like shoes. The Girl Scouts immediately wanted to help.
Laura Hunter, mother of scout Breanna Frederickson, said, “Every year the troop chooses something that they want to use the money from their Girl Scout [cookie] sales for. This year the girls decided that they’re going to buy shoes for an orphanage in Cambodia.” Hunter said the troop leader, Tracy Lake, encouraged the troop to do something philanthropic with their cookie money and buying shoes for orphans is what they chose to do.
After contacting Ruth Williams of Godmother’s Inc., which sends care packages to the orphanage, they learned shoes could be bought for $3 each. Each scout was asked to earn the $3 by working for their parents or neighbors, and the troop would match those funds with their cookie profits.
Parent Danielle Feldon said her daughter, Rhaevyn, is excited about the project. “A lot of the reason she’s excited about it is because my sister-in-law is from Cambodia.” Feldon said her brother and his wife are big supporters of the scout’s project and usually send money to where Rhaevyn’s aunt is from in Cambodia. “So she’s excited because she’s doing something that her uncle did; she’s helping people, she’s a helper,” Feldon said.
Lake said the troop is a community service-based troop. “We’ve gone to assisted living to carol at Christmas,” she said. “We collected cans for the humane society, worked with veterans to create care packages and cards to send to active duty military troops serving in Afghanistan, and will now send shoes to the kids at the Kampong Cham residence center [in Cambodia].” Lake plans for the troop to get involved with animal oriented organizations using profits from an upcoming nut sale before the end of this year. “For such a small town, we have a huge animal population in need,” Lake said.
Hunter said the girls think it’s really a neat thing and that they all feel really empowered by making choices and doing things they can to help other people. She likes it too. “You know you want to teach them about the spirit of giving and that others may not have the things that they’re blessed with, like a pair of shoes,” she said. “They may not realize something like this, that people don’t have everything they do.”
According to Lake, Girl Scouts is about building girls of courage, confidence and character who know they can make a difference in the world. “It’s about enabling them to reach their full potential and become an engaged community member,” she said.
“Rhaevyn came home the first day they found out about it and she said she had to make money,” Feldon told the Casper Journal. “She was rubbing my back and doing her chores, which normally I don’t give her money for because they help me do some things around the house, but I knew she was wanting to make money for this,” she said. Rhaevyn called her uncle as well and talked with him about the project. He donated enough for seven pairs of shoes. “She was pretty excited about that too.”
Feldon said the girls are making money and doing what they can to help (put shoes on) these kids. “My understanding is they’re … sending the money to the girls [orphanage] so that they can get the correct sizes … and [the money] won’t get wasted on shoes that won’t fit them. They’ll buy shoes over there,” she said. There are 77 kids under the age of 16 in the Kampong Cham residence center. The troop will send their money to the orphanage through Godmother’s Inc. of Laramie on April 10.