DERRY — Two local Girl Scouts moved one step closer to a top award by showing younger girls the finer points of community service and helping others.
Julie Toohey and Isabel Silveira, both members of Derry's Cadette Troop 20570, hosted a Brownie Badge Blast recently and invited younger Scouts to an overnight event to have fun while learning to reach out to those in need.
The two seventh-graders planned the event as part of their efforts to earn the Silver Award — the highest honor a Cadette Scout can achieve.
Almost 50 Brownies came out to First Parish Church for the event.
The 12-year-old Cadettes said they love Girl Scouts and organizing the Brownie event was a fun way to teach the younger girls about being a Scout while taking on community service work.
"It's important for them to learn things," Isabel said.
Julie and Isabel accomplished several goals en route to earning the Silver Award, including a minimum of 40 hours of planning and documentation for the main project. Troop 20570 leader Margaret Bonilla said it's been years in the making.
Brownies arrived with sleeping bags and supplies in tow, then completed six different activity stations. Girls also donated items to help local food pantries.
Bonilla said both Julie and Isabel felt strongly about what kind of Silver Award project they wanted to take on.
"They felt that while community service is a big portion of what Girl Scouts is all about," Bonilla said. "Younger girls at the Brownie level may not truly understand what a food pantry or soup kitchen is, so they built into their Brownie Badge Blast an important education component."
That component paid off in a big way, with 485 food items collected to support the community.
For Julie, it was a great way to teach the little girls about being a Scout and all the fun they can look forward to as they grow in the organization.
"We wanted to give back to the Girl Scouts," she said.
Bonilla said all the Brownies involved had a great time and both Cadettes worked hard to run the event.
"They are truly special people and role models for not only Girl Scouts, but also for other teens in town," Bonilla said
Since Troop 20570 began, the Scouts have completed a number of community service projects, including helping collect food and supplies for the needy and also helping troops overseas by sending care packages, letters from home, and placing flags for Memorial Day here at home.