A Girl Scout troop in Colorado has come to the aid of a local elementary school by making personal protective equipment to fend off the coronavirus – and they used money made from cookie sales to do it.
Emma Bangerter, a 5th grader at Wildcat Mountain Elementary School in Highlands Ranch – and a member of Troop 65430 – says the struggles associated with reopening schools amid a pandemic inspired her troop.
“My Girl Scout troop and I came up with the idea for this project out of the need…to ease the tension of going back to school for staff and students,” Bangerter, 10, told CNN. “So using our troop’s cookie money, we bought the material to make the sneeze guards, reusable masks and mask lanyards.”
Bangerter says most students at Wildcat are schooling via a hybrid model – they attend school in-person for two days a week and learn virtually the other days.
She says her troop’s donation was a one-time offer, but they could make more PPE if needed.
“At first, it was kind of tricky to learn how to do everything, but we kind of picked it up as we went and now we’re really good at making them,” Bangerter said. “Our whole Girl Scout troop was there to drop off the supplies. Our principal cried a little bit because she was so happy.”
Molly Milley, the principal at Wildcat Mountain Elementary School, says that when the school considered reopening, officials asked themselves how to make it happen safely and effectively.
“One of our primary values is in working with students in small groups and in one-on-one scenarios, and in order to do that we knew we would need (acrylic glass) barriers,” Milley told CNN via email. “I asked our school district for 40, but they could only allot a few for specific purposes. Our Girl Scout troop came to our rescue by making 40 (acrylic glass) barriers, face masks for staff and students, as well as mask lanyards.”
“At Wildcat, our vision is to cultivate passionate hearts and minds, driven to contribute to the well-being of others and the good of society,” Milley said. “We are so proud of our Girl Scouts for embodying this vision.”
Through PPE project, Bangerter and her fellow scouts also earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest award for Girl Scouts in the 4th or 5th grade.
“There is usually an in-person award ceremony in the spring, so we will have to see whether or not we can have one this year,” said Randi Bangerter, Emma’s mother.
Emma, who’s been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, says this is her first Girl Scout-related award.
“My favorite thing about being a Girl Scout is learning new skills and money management and about becoming a better person and a better leader,” Emma said. “I think Girl Scouts is a really good leadership opportunity and a really great experience overall. It made me feel proud that we made a difference in our community.”