WOOD RIVER - Girl Scout Troop 130 and 792 spent the last year planning, preparing, and implementing projects that both benefited Partners for Pets in Troy.

Troop 130 titled their project “Shelter Helpers - A Project for Partners for Pets” and Troop 792 titled their project “Care for Critters.” Both troops learned recently that their projects met all of the requirements for the Silver Award and they will be presented their awards at the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ annual Recognition of Excellence Awards Ceremony in May of 2023.

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Troop 130 Silver Awardees are Somona Acheson of Wood River, granddaughter of Kathy Acheson, KayLynn Buttry of East Alton, daughter of Dustin and Janet Buttry, Hope Carter of Wood River, daughter of Carmen Elfgen, and Melina Luebbert of Hartford, daughter of Ted and Kristie Luebbert. Troop 792 Silver Awardees are Julia Heil of Carrollton, daughter of Jeff and Jean Heil, and Elisabeth Preston of Edwardsville, daughter of Samuel and Karie Preston.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn and the highest award that a middle school-aged Girl Scout can earn. With the Silver Award girls are given the chance to demonstrate their leadership and organization skills and become their best selves as they show they are determined and dedicated to improving their community.

Both troops said they knew from the onset that they wanted to help animals with their projects. After reaching out to area shelters they learned of some of the greatest needs that Partners for Pets has and decided they wanted to help in any way they could.

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The greatest needs at the time were in the cat room. Partners for Pets needed a cabinet and countertop in the cat room so they had a space to store items they needed readily available to care for the cats and a place to do medical exams in the room. The girls also learned that the shelter is always in need of special mats for their kennels.

Troop 130 was able to refurbish a cabinet for the cat room. The girls worked to fix a loose shelf, repair damaged wood, and paint the cabinet a bright cheerful color, with cat stencils and vinyl paw stickers. The girls also decided to help enrich the cats' lives with homemade cat scratch pads using recycled cookie case boxes saved from the last cookie season. They also made homemade treats for the dogs and recipe cards to go home with newly adopted dogs so that the treats could be made by the new owners as well.

Troop 792 took on the task of making the special pads needed for the kennel. They also hand-made hundreds of enrichment toys for the kitties. In addition to these items, the girls also assembled adoption boxes for both cats and dogs that contained special treats for newly adopted animals, baking the kitty treats themselves. Both troops learned that animal shelters run primarily on donations and wanted to do as much as they could through their projects.

The girls worked to put Amazon wishlists together to ask family and friends for donations. In addition, the girls also held supply drives on two different days outside of Wood River Walmart. The girls were completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support shown by the Walmart customers at their supply drives.

Through the Walmart supply drive alone the girls were able to collect over 800 pounds of dry dog food, over 450 pounds of dry cat food, 600 cans of cat food and 300 cans of dog food. In addition, they were able to collect leashes, collars, bowls, and toys, as well as a large amount of cleaning supplies to help keep the shelter in operation. In this project, the girls learned that they can persevere in any challenge they face and they can make a difference in their community.

Partners For Pets is a licensed, 501(c)3, no-kill animal rescue located in Troy. Partners for Pets regularly visits animal control facilities and rescues animals that have used up their time, need medical care, and/or are too fragile for shelter life. Call 800-345-6858 or email customercare@gsofsi.org. Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is a not-for-profit organization supported by the United Way, businesses, and individual donors throughout the region.

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