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The Sun letter to the editor: Girl Scouts make their leader proud

The Girl Scouts from Orchard Park’s Troop No. 30889 have just completed a service project to create a quilt for victims of abuse.

The girls used this project to gain an understanding regarding the process of their future gold awards.

In September of 2013, we talked about ideas for individual projects and we decided to use this quilt project as a group practice run. We followed the gold award requirements for our format and walked through them together.

Life as a young woman can have its difficulties and be especially hard, sometimes. Our goals as Girl Scouts is to use resources wisely and try to make the world a better place.

Many girls drop out of Girl Scouts before high school, so having girls at this level and age is extraordinary. As a leader, I wanted the girls to create a network of trusted individuals from our community, so we met with a police officer and a life coach.

We worked on interpersonal relationships, to learn more about respecting each other’s feelings, and we began writing in gratitude journals.

Our troop worked with three quilters from the Eden Creative Sewing Shop: Mrs. Sally Zelasko, Mrs. Karen Forth and Mrs. Nancy Sheffer. These women donated their time, support and expertise, helping us plan out our project.

The quilt that we created is made up of seven different fabrics, 40 nine patch squares, 40 solid squares and three borders. Each of the 40 blocks of 6 1/2 inch squares are alternated in a row, with 40 nine-patch blocks of the same size.

This pattern required pinning and matching edges of each block, sewing straight seams by following a line on the machine or a hand-drawn line, careful ironing to press the fabric, nesting the seams, focusing on the task at hand and having a vision of the completed quilt.

Each girl had to learn how to use the quilting tools, such as rotary blades, cutting mats, quilting rulers, thin pins, seam rippers, sewing machines and an iron.

We then gave the completed quilt to Family Justice Center, where we were given a tour and an interview with Mary Murphy, executive director, and Tiffany Szymanek, development director.

The troop learned that long-term planning pays off, that taking everything apart and starting again is sometimes necessary, that making a quilt isn’t as boring as it seems, that small tasks can lead to big achievements, that utilizing guidance and instruction is rewarding and more about respecting each other as human beings.

One of the most important purposes of this project was to raise an awareness of domestic violence and abuse. When we learn to love ourselves, we value who we are and each other. We appreciate and respect others when we begin to understand love.

I am so grateful to all those who spent time helping these girls understand. I’m sure your efforts will be far-reaching.

Ann Crinzi
Girl Scout Troop No. 30889 leader

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