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Members of Troop 2561 learn about the effects of pet overpopulation during a visit to Five Acres Animal Shelter in St. Charles County. Scroll down to view other photos below the story.

Girl Scout Troop 2561 had been working on their Brownie Quest and had to decide on the community service project they would do for a Journey.

Girl Scout Journeys helps girls understand what it means to be a leader who makes a difference in the world through unique leadership and advocacy challenges. Brownie Quest is one of the Journeys for girls in second and third grades. During the Journey, girls discover their talents and how they can use them then they apply these talents to a service project. The troop is in District 5, which covers North Central and Northwest St. Louis County.

Troop Leader Linda Zanders gave the girls several options: clean up a local park, collect items for a no-kill animal shelter, create craft kits for sick children or collect items for St. Louis Crisis Nursery. 
She asked the girls to vote on the one they liked best. Five girls voted for collecting items for the animal shelter and five girls voted to make craft kits for sick children. 

“When I pointed out that we had a tie and would have to pick one, the girls looked at me and asked, ‘Can't we do two?’” Zanders said. “As their leader, I was so proud that they wanted to do twice the work to help more people and animals.”

First, the girls decorated collection boxes and placed them at church and local businesses for donations to the Five Acres Animal Shelter in St. Charles County. When their collection period was complete, they gathered almost 500 items for the shelter. They picked a date and delivered the items to the shelter, where they attended a short class and took a tour. Then they met some of the animals, the girls’ favorite part.

"We wanted to do two projects because we could help humans and animals," said Skylar M. "I learned how to help in tough situations. The animal shelter was my favorite because I love animals and I want to be a veterinarian." 

“I think it says a lot about these girls that they were willing to go the extra mile and complete both community service projects,” said Bonnie Barcyzkowski, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.

For the second project, they created "Guardian Angel" kits for patients at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. They cut ribbons, sorted beads and other supplies and placed them in locking plastic bags, complete with instructions. Since the hospital had to protect the patients' privacy, they were unable to meet the kids who created their own guardian angel, but they received a very nice thank-you letter from the staff. This year, the girls asked if they could make more Guardian Angels for children who are ill.

"We all worked together and we made the children in the hospital happy," Lorna Z. said. “The Guardian Angels would watch over sick children in the hospital and make sure they are safe. We picked the shelter because it was for the pets that had no home and we helped them until they are adopted."
  

The girls made some new four-legged friends during their time at Five Acres.

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