Wilton Girl Scouts help classmates with mask donations

Wilton Girl Scout Troop 1226 donating masks they made to Wilton Elementary School. Front: Madison Kelley, Audrina Curry, Dawsyn Froman, and Isabella Cummings. Back: Lily Bezdek, Sara Marine, Alyssa Grau, nurse Heather Hartley, principal Denise Austin, and Makenna Tyler. Not pictured: Ashley Oien and Sawyer Glenney.

WILTON, Iowa–Though Wilton’s Girl Scout Troop 1226 may not have met for some of their typical summer activities this year, these fifth grade girls still found a way to actively support their community. The girls created 70 masks to donate to Wilton Elementary School, ensuring their classmates had access to masks when school resumed.

Troop leaders Erica Cummings, Jennifer Klerk de Reus, and Jenn Tyler explained that the girls used their mask making project to work towards their first Junior Girl Scout badge, the Agents of Change Badge. Using Zoom, the girls met in July to discuss how they could use their skills to benefit the community. They decided they wanted to sew masks and ultimately chose their school as the recipient as all students would need masks to return to in person learning. The girls also voted to sew at least four masks apiece.

In the following month, the girls then worked with family members or friends who could sew to create their masks. All together, they created 70, an average of seven masks per girl, well exceeding their original goal. The girls proudly presented their creations to Wilton Elementary School Principal Denise Austin and Nurse Heather Hartley. Over the course of the school year, Hartley will distribute the masks free of charge to any student or staff member who needs a new mask while at school.

Hartley gladly accepted the donation. As the school’s nurse, Hartley must find masks for students who forget their mask at home, get it dirty, or who accidentally damage it through the day. The donated masks make her job much simpler. “We’re so thankful to get them,” she said. “It’s so nice to have them for kids who need them and to give them a reusable one they can take home, wash, and reuse instead of a disposable one.” She also reports that the kids who have seen the masks, “love the different designs.”

The girls’ troop leaders also took pride in their dedication to helping the community. “We are all so proud of the girls for leading a successful meeting where they decided on a community centered project, set goals, and also implemented a plan of action for achieving their goals,” shared Klerk de Reus. “It is a challenging time for everyone, and it was great to see the leadership skills come out–they truly achieved their badge emphasizing ‘the power of community.'”