Shrewsbury Girl Scout Troop collects backpacks for foster children

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Shrewsbury Girl Scout Troop collects backpacks for foster children
Shrewsbury Girl Scout Troop 65174 pose with their Bronze Stars and Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts CEO Pattie Hallberg. (Photo/submitted).

SHREWSBURY – Shrewsbury Girl Scout Troop 65174 members received their Bronze Award earlier this year after collecting 110 backpacks and additional supplies for the Department of Children & Families (DCF) in Worcester.

Bronze Awards are the highest award that Girl Scout Juniors can receive, and they are awarded for projects that make a difference in scouts’ communities.

Sue Fournier, one of the leaders for Troop 65174, said that her scouts wanted to work on a project that would help foster children.

“A lot of times, when they’re taken out of their homes, they don’t have time to take a lot of stuff,” Fournier said. “The girls thought it would be a nice gesture to have their own backpack.”

So, Troop 65174 members set up a drop-off box for backpacks at Papa’s Hardware in town. They also put up a sign promoting their effort in front of the former Beal School.

Fournier also said that her fifth-grade scouts got permission to put up another box at Sherwood Middle School.

From September through late February, the troop collected 110 backpacks, some of which were new.

“The community really came together and was really generous about that,” Fournier said.

The troops also collected items like small toiletries, packs of socks, notepads and stuffed animals to put in the backpacks.

Fournier said the troop invited Gina Doyle, an ambassador for Worcester DCF, to explain to the scouts how the agency works and how children end up in foster homes.

“She was really explicit with the girls,” Fournier said. “She really told them what it is they do and how they take care of these kids.”

Fournier thanked Papa’s Hardware owners Paula and Fred Betti, who she said always help the troop for projects like this.

She also thanked Westborough-based Hollywood Salvage owner Judy Hughes for donating many boxes of clothing for foster children.

The troop’s Bronze Award project was recognized at a townwide bridging ceremony on June 7 at Oak Middle School.

Dubbed bridging ceremonies, these events recognize the completion of one level of scouting and the accession to another, symbolized by the scouts crossing a bridge.

This year’s bridging ceremony also saw 17 12th graders bridge from the Ambassador level to Adult level, representing the culmination of the Girl Scout experience.

Fournier said that the 17 scouts reaching that milestone was a historically high number for both Shrewsbury and the entire council.

“They never had that many 12th graders bridging to Adult because a lot of them drop out in high school because they have so many other things to do,” Fournier said.

Shrewsbury Girl Scout Troop collects backpacks for foster children
Shrewsbury Girl Scouts pose after reaching the Adult level at the bridging ceremony. (Photo/submitted)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article contained an incorrect caption identifying individuals in the photo shown above as members of Girl Scout Troop 65174. The photograph is of Girl Scouts who have reached the Adult level in their Girl Scout journey from three different troops in Shrewsbury. The Community Advocate regrets this error.

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