For The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Girl Scouts in grades 4-6 earned the bronze award recently with a project to benefit All Saints Catholic School. Girl Scout leader Elizabeth Snaith said the bronze award is the third-highest award in Girl Scouts and the highest award that girls in the junior level can earn.
Girl Scout Troop 1701 presented its bronze award-winning Buddy Bench project to the school May 25 in Holy Family Church. To earn the award, a girl or group of girls must identify a problem and work to solve the problem in their community or school, Snaith said. The girls put in extra hours beyond regular scout meetings to complete the project. Girls in grades 4-6 from Holy Family and Our Lady of Victory parishes in Davenport comprise the troop. They have been working hard to learn about each other and others in their community, Snaith said.
“Our troop has been working hard with such things as cookie sales, exploring the outdoors and learning about and trying to do our part in our community,” Girl Scout Evelyn Beltran, an All Saints fifth-grader, said at the presentation. “Today we are here to present our latest project — the All Saints buddy bench.”
Buddy benches are designed to help prevent students from feeling lonely or having to play alone. “The idea is to sit on the bench if you find yourself without a friend, and soon someone will spy you alone and ask you to come and join,” Evelyn said. The bench will be placed on the All Saints playground to encourage students to look out for one another.
One of the key ideas in Girl Scouts is to “make new friends, but keep the old. We all should be able to build our circle without leaving anyone out,” said Italia Narvez, an All Saints fourth-grader. The Girl Scouts dedicated the Buddy Bench to their retiring principal, Jeanne Von Feldt, said Brookelynn Brooks, an All Saints fourth-grader. “The bench’s plaque reads ‘ASCS Girl Scout Troop 1701 Buddy Bench presented by the Juniors of 2022 as a special thanks to Principal Von Feldt for being a buddy to us all.’”
All Saints fourth-grader Gracie Snaith thanked Von Feldt for her greetings in the hall to show her support as the youths grew. Gracie said the principal also attended events outside of the regular school day. “We know that this bench shows every part of what you have shown us over the past years that, no matter what, we must show kindness to all, be there for each other and never give up on each other.”
In addition to the four All Saints Girl Scouts, Iris Hiedergen, a fourth-grader at Madison Elementary, and Madison Hill, a fourth-grader at John F. Kennedy Catholic School, both in Davenport, also earned bronze awards.
Elizabeth Snaith said a brainstorming session began last fall for those interested in the bronze award. Cookie sales, the main fundraiser, took place from January through March. The bench work started in February and continued through early May. Snaith’s father, a woodworker, taught the girls how to make the bench, which also included sanding, staining and installing the plaque.
“It’s a big award and I’m so proud of these girls,” Snaith said. “I was fortunate enough to earn my gold award in high school (the Girl Scouts’ highest award) and Girl Scouting had given me so much confidence in myself as well as a desire to help others grow.”