For its Silver Award Project, Girl Scout Troop 2149 decided to pull a page from Jim Henson’s playbook and create Muppet-style puppets and just like the Muppets, the troop’s puppets tell a story that educates people about the importance and value of Girl Scouts and how to create girls of courage, confidence and character.
The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest national award a Girl Scout Cadette, in grades six through eight, may earn. The Silver Award is earned by an individual or small team of two to four girls and requires each girl to complete a minimum of 50 hours on a Silver Award Take Action Project. This is not a troop-earned award. Earning the Girl Scout Silver Award offers a girl the chance to show that she is a leader who is organized, determined and dedicated to improving her community.
“I always liked the idea of having a puppet show when I was young, but I never thought I would have the chance to do it,” Colleen Flynn said.
The girls made their own puppet theatre and produced their own shows, which focused on Girl Scouting and sought to increase the number of Girl Scouts in their neighborhood. The troop visited fall recruitment events, one of which had 72 girls, and other venues to spread the message that Girl Scouts build girls of courage, confidence and character. They put on 10 performances, including one at a Vacation Bible School, at school round-ups and at four churches.
“I received a lot of really good feedback,” said Troop Leader Beth Fassler. “I think it made an impact; it was more interactive than coloring or a lecture.”
“I was afraid I would mess up my lines,” Martina Mirbaha admitted.
It took one year to make the puppets, design and build the stage, write the skits and set up performances. Unlike professional puppeteers, the girls had no monitors to watch their puppets’ positions. Instead, they practiced and they typed out scenes on paper and pinned the sheets to the back of the curtain before each show.
“When we performed at Vacation Bible School, we did the skits they [the VBS staff] gave us to do but at the other shows, we wrote our own routines,” Flynn said. “We chose our own Christmas songs and we sang them at Ranken Jordan [Pediatric Specialty Hospital in Maryland Heights].”
“They loved our puppets,” Alyssa Adamec said. “And we made a lot of the people laugh by the hand motions we made.”
The co-leaders divided the girls into three groups – anti-bullying, recruitment and Christmas shows. All groups cross-trained so they would know all of the parts and there would be no gaps in the shows. The girls logged 53.5 hours on their Silver Award Project, Fassler reported. As a troop, they recently completed and filed the required paperwork related to the award. “I think that’s when they realized how much work really went into this,” said Fassler. They earned at least three badges for this project, Adventure, Sewing and Woodworking and the Girl Scout Journey “It’s Your Story – Tell It.”
“It was fun in a lot of different ways and made people happy and it benefited us all,” said Andrea Haferkamp.
“What I thought was unique was how hard we had to work for the award and how long it took as well as how fun it was,” Alyssa said.