For most, watching a wildfire destroy your community would leave you feeling overwhelmed, heartbroken, and maybe even unsure of what to do next.
But Girl Scouts aren’t most people.
After the Almeda Fire ravaged the Rogue Valley area near Medford, Oregon in September 2020, the members of Troop 30021 immediately asked how they could help rebuild homes. This was despite several troop members being displaced after evacuations forced them to leave their homes and one troop member even losing their home to the fire.
“After the 2020 Almeda wildfire decimated the community where most of our girls live, they really wanted to help rebuild homes,” said troop leader Dena Vancantfort. “We reached out to Habitat [for Humanity] and although they couldn't physically participate due to their age, they decided to help by giving 100% of their earnings towards the homes Habitat would be building for families displaced by the fire.”
With the decision made, the troop set their sales goal for the year and went to work selling cookies during the 2021 Girl Scout Cookie Program. In December 2021, the troop attended a wall raising event with Habitat for Humanity where they were able to present a check for $2,500. The event marked the beginning of rebuilding homes for two families displaced by the wildfire.
“We were able to meet the people from Habitat, the families, and the mayor,” said Dena. “This particular wall raising was very emotional for every person there. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.”
Attending the event was also a chance for the Girl Scouts to see their work during the cookie program pay off. “It was an honor to be able to attend and present our check,” said Dena. “It gave the girls a sense of pride and accomplishment. They were able to see what their hard work and efforts were able to provide for their community.”
Setting goals and working hard is nothing new for Troop 30021. Most of the troop members have been together since they were Daisies and have participated in the Girl Scout Cookie Program every year. “One of the reasons it's important for our troop to participate is the valuable life-long skills they are learning, from managing money to keeping track of inventory, and people skills,” said Dena. “The cookie program has also been a way for our troop to earn money that allows us to help our community and to go on fun adventures.”
Their next adventure funded by cookie proceeds? A trip to Paris.
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