Pets at shelter are beneficiaries of Girl Scouts’ volunteer efforts
Lansing Girl Scout Troop 739 wrapped up more than six months of service at the Leavenworth Animal Control Shelter last week when they dropped off their final project of the school year.
The Cadette troop of six Lansing Middle School eighth-graders made bags out of old jeans and decorated them with sayings such as "I love my pet." The bags were donated to the shelter to be used as adoption bags - when an animal is adopted from the shelter, staff and volunteers can include a starter kit of food as well as toys or blankets the animal may have used at the shelter to aid its transition to a new home.
The girls - Samantha Moreland, Elizabeth Decker, Kelsey McClelland, Katelin Gibson, Kathryn Sebes and Jennifer Simpson - came up with the idea for the bags after volunteering at Adoption Days at the shelter, which are held the second Saturday of every month.
The bags are the latest in a number of projects that the Scouts have worked on at the shelter. Adult Girl Scout member Nancy Gibson, who helps to lead the troop, said that in October, the troop met and wanted to choose one place to do all of their service projects for the year. Gibson, troop leader Mickey Sebes and assistant leader Cathy-Jo Simpson invited Andrea Marmaux to speak to the girls about the animal shelter. Marmaux is a volunteer with the Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society Inc., known as LAWS.
After hearing from Marmaux, the girls chose the shelter as the place to do their service projects.
"We just saw that they really needed help here, so we decided to help," Katelin Gibson said.
Katelin's mom, Nancy, said the girls' work at the shelter was educational and provided useful life experience.
Since October, the troop has found various ways to help at the shelter in addition to volunteering at adoption days. Some of the girls go to the shelter during the week to help bathe and groom the animals; they also play with the animals inside or outside to socialize them. In December, the girls cleaned and rearranged the bathing/grooming and storage rooms. More recently, they made blankets for the cats at the shelter. They have also donated leashes, collars and towels.
Decker and Kathryn Sebes earned their Silver Awards by working at the shelter. To earn the award, Scouts must complete leadership training, interest projects and a service project. For their service project, Decker and Sebes held bake sales and collected aluminum cans to earn money to buy four Kuranda beds, which are dog beds made of PVC pipe and a breathable fabric that elevates the dogs about 6 inches off of the concrete floor. With the leftover money they raised, they bought a light for the bathing room and pet food for the shelter. Mickey Sebes said the girls raised $260.45 through their projects. The dog beds cost about $216, she said.
Through the time and effort the girls put in at the shelter, four girls in the troop - Decker, Gibson, Sebes and Simpson - earned a Service Bar for working 25 or more hours at the shelter.
Katelin Gibson said she would continue to volunteer at the shelter throughout the summer. She said she wanted to do what she could for the animals there.
"You can't save them all, but you can try," she said.