Ramstein Girl Scouts earn Bronze Award

by Ramstein Girl Scout Junior Troop 443
Stripes Europe

Editor's Note: This story was written by Ramstein Girl Scout Troop 443. It is being published with very minor edits. 

We saw a problem in our military community, and we wanted to help. The Bronze award is a Girl Scout project, combining teamwork and observing our surroundings. For our Bronze Award, we wanted to help animals here in Germany. We learned about being good pet owners and made toys for both the Homberg Tierheim and Paws Abroad.

Pets sometimes have a rough time, especially in military families, and we wanted to figure out how we could help. Military pets are sometimes abandoned, either before a permanent change of station (PCS) or when they deploy. This is something that affects us all.

From our first meeting, we knew we wanted to help pets. The Bronze Award is led by us — which means we all had to decide our goal and be able to communicate together. We have to put in at least 20 hours each to earn it, which equates to more than 240 hours from our troop!

On Saturday, March 18, we spent nine hours together learning all about pets. We made pet first aid kits, and learned how to properly care for the pets we have or want. We then had Courtney from Courtney’s Barkery come and teach us about her pet treat business. We learned about which treats are safe for pets, and what it takes to own a small business. We all made our own business plan, and almost all of them were about pets. We want to open them now!

Katie with Paws Abroad came to talk to us about the five pet freedoms. They need freedom from hunger, discomfort, pain, fear, and the freedom to do what they want. She taught us how to be responsible pet owners. Most of us either have or want pets, so this will help us out a lot in the future. “It was important to learn how to take care of pets… If we don’t, they might feel pain or not get the right care and they can’t speak for themselves or feed themselves,” said Reagan, a Girl Scout in our troop.

We finished the day by making dog and cat toys. We used some of the money we raised from cookie sales to do this. Half of us did not know how to braid, so we learned how to by making braided rope dog toys. We had a lot of fun making those and made almost 50 of them. Then, we used an old blanket to make catnip filled cat toys. Those were a lot harder, and took a lot more work, so we were only able to make 20 toys. It was worth it in the end though, and we learned new skills! We hope the pets have fun with them. When talking about using our cookie money for the toys, Vanessa from our troop said, “It is a better feeling to give something than to receive something.” We all agree!

We now know what is needed before we adopt a pet, and what we need to think about. We all definitely still want pets, but now know the responsibility we have as pet owners. You cannot just adopt a pet and rehome it afterwards. It is a lifelong commitment. Pets move and travel with us, and are a part of our family! We hope to share this with our military family, and have them think before adopting.

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