Girls work to earn Girl Scout Silver Awards through community projects
Several Girl Scouts weren’t about to just stay home and do nothing when the COVID-19 crisis hit. They took action to help and are now making face masks for healthcare workers – and to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award as well.
Samantha Laflotte, 13, of Merrimack, is a Girl Scout Cadette and eighth-grader at the Academy of Science and Design Charter School, and had enough interest in the field of 3D printing to have a small 3D printer at her home already.
“I heard that healthcare workers need masks because of a shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic," she said. “They need masks to protect themselves from getting sick so they can continue to treat patients. The healthcare workers are really brave and I’m so excited that I have this opportunity to help them.”
Working on a similar but separate project is Cassandra Rodriguez, 13, another Cadette in Laflotte’s Merrimack troop and an eighth-grader at Merrimack Middle School. She is making cloth masks, following the recommendations in a video posted by Dartmouth Hitchcock. Cassandra is sharpening her sewing skills with the project. She was busy cutting enough fabric and elastic to make 100 masks on March 30.
“Last year I went to sewing club and learned to use a sewing machine,” she said. “I’m figuring it out. I’ve made one mask entirely.”
In Hopkinton, Hanne Stuke, 12, is also hard at work creating cloth face masks. She is a Cadette in Concord Girl Scout Troop 20507 and a seventh-grader at Hopkinton Middle School. She has already donated 70 masks to Concord Hospital.
The Girl Scouts plan to donate the masks to health providers in the area, like St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, Elliot Hospital in Manchester, Concord Hospital, and other places.
Samantha’s 3D-printed masks are made of plastic, and contain a slot for a filter that will block the virus and is useful for up to 40 hours. Each mask will have a soft rubber gasket to make it comfortable for the wearer. She plans to provide several filters with each mask so they can be used longer. She said she is grateful to Pulsar Security for funding her project.
“We are all really proud of Samantha for seeing a need and deciding to do something about it!” said Amy Bewley, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications for the charter school. “She is doing this all on her own from home, even finding funding for it.”
Merrimack troop leader Melissa Laflotte, Samantha’s mother, is proud of the pair for stepping up. “I feel it's another amazing example of Girl Scouts using their resources and skills wisely to help where there is an immediate need.”
Samantha and Cassandra said they will supplement their mask-making with videos or a website that will show others how to make masks.
Hanne and the rest of her troop also made blankets for sick children who are hospitalized at Concord Hospital to make them feel more at home when they did their winter lodge retreat in January, said troop leader Dr. Patricia Edwards. “Many of our girls have gained sewing skills through our service projects in the past such as making T-shirt bags for the homeless to carry things in,” she said.
All three Girl Scouts are working to earn their Silver Award, the highest possible recognition for a Girl Scout Cadette, those in grades 6-8. The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are bestowed on Girl Scouts in grades 4-12 who take action to make the world a better place, spending as much as 60 hours on the project for a Silver Award. All three awards are the mark of the truly remarkable.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.