Troop 628 with their Leader, Tasha Knight, back row right.
Raking leaves, pulling weeds and sweeping can be so taxing that some older home owners give up on doing them. Girl Scout Troop 628 took part in a recent effort to change that for a few Webster Groves home owners.
Seven girls and their troop leader participated in Chores Galore, a twice-annual yard clean-up for senior neighbors, sponsored by The Shepherd’s Center of Webster/Kirkwood, Inc. The center recruits local families, scout and youth groups to provide a much needed yard clean-up for its senior neighbors who can’t physically do the work.
“We helped clean up people's yards to help people who couldn't do it themselves. When we finished, I felt like I did a really important thing. It felt really great to help people and to spend time with my fellow Girl Scouts," said Zoe Knight.
“These girls have been leading since first grade,” Troop Leader Tasha Knight said. There are nine girls in the troop, who “bridged” or advanced from Girl Scout Juniors to the next level, Girl Scout Cadettes, as the girls prepare to enter middle school.
This troop’s effort is just one of many examples of Girl Scout service projects that benefit their communities. In 2013, girl and adult members volunteered 1,066,775 service hours. According to the website, www.Independent Sector.org, the hours are valued at $23,618,399.
“This group is phenomenal. They always want to volunteer – at Nurses For Newborns, here or anywhere. The week after we volunteered at Nurses For Newborns, they asked, ‘When do we go back?’ They are very hands-on. Before we started Chores Galore, they asked me, ‘Why do we only do two yards?’
“Leaders lead by example,” Knight continued. “The girls love to get people moving and they love to help people. The troop has been together so long they work well in teams on their own.”
Knight said the girls raked and bagged leaves, removed gumballs that accumulated in the yards, cleared fallen branches, swept porches and decks and disposed of trash.
“These girls love to sweep. One girl bagged leaves and gumballs and another one wanted to weed.”
Knight said they spent about 90 minutes at each house. “After the second yard, they wanted to know where they were going next.”
Both home owners thanked the girls for their hard work. “You could see in the girls’ eyes that they would do this every day if they could. Sometimes, they are so enthusiastic, they wear me out,” Knight said.
“It’s a really good way for the kids to lend a hand and the senior citizens appreciate the help doing the things they can’t do for themselves,” said Gayle McHenry, the Shepherd’s Center’s Executive Director.
The Shepherd’s Center of Webster/Kirkwood, Inc., is one of 75 Shepherd Centers started by Shepherd Centers of America, which began in 1972 through the inspiration of Rev. Elbert Cole in Kansas City, MO. He proposed a new image of positive aging that incorporated providing opportunities for continued purpose and meaning. The genius of the Shepherd's Centers is that they are created by and with older adults. The Shepherd's Center of Webster/Kirkwood Inc. began in 1998 through the leadership of three congregations. The Shepherd's Center is a place where people come to learn, laugh and lend a hand.
The above photos are examples of past Girl Scout troops taking part in Chores Galore.