A Vacaville Girl Scout troop hopes to stamp out bullying by posting up messages of kindness on their school campuses.
Brownie Troop 20113 from the Vacaville/Travis Air Force Base service unit — Amy Borchert, Ayanna Elias and Emma Christofferson from Cambridge Elementary, Caitlin McGee and Nikki Mageira from Cooper Elementary, Lily Coble from Browns Valley Elementary, Jaycee Rehse and Emylee Neison from Scandia Elementary and Zoie Lopez from Alamo Elementary — worked together on two projects at Cooper and Browns Valley.
“We’re making posters to promote people being kind,” Amy, 8, said.
The girls were working on a Journey program, “A World of Girls,” troop leader Angela Borchert explained, which taught them how to look for clues, identify a problem and come up with a solution.
“They’ve been working on this since August,” she said.
All of the girls had some sort of experience with bullying, whether they had witnessed it or were bullied themselves.
“What goes on at your school to promote kindness?” Borchert posed to the troop.
Cambridge already had a robust kindness campaign, she said, so they looked at some of the other schools the girls attend to see what they could do.
Caitlin, 8, took leadership at Cooper, where she goes to school and her mother Julie is a fifth grade teacher.
Caitlin met with the school principal to talk about her vision, which started out as a project just for her class.
“We changed it into the entire school,” she said.
She invited fellow students to write a nice message about someone on a paper star, and then all the stars were put up in the multipurpose room where most students would see them.
“It says something kind about them on every star,” she said.
Caitlin and Ayanna also decorated a special box for students to deposit their stars.
“You ask for them from your teacher if you want to do one,” said Caitlin, explaining that students can still put stars in the box.
Her mother brought some of her fifth graders to staple the stars to the walls, and Caitlin was in charge of the older children asking her what to do.
At Browns Valley, the girls worked with the sixth grade kindness committee and came up with the idea to put up signs. They spent an afternoon with teacher Stephanie Bracken to write motivating messages like “Let’s All Be Winners” and “Be Nice, Be Kind and You’ll Cross the Finish Line” to place throughout the entire school.
Through this project, the scouts learned how to explain to adults what they want to get done and take leadership.
“We learned that small ideas can lead to big ideas,” Caitlin said.
They also learned some practical advice on how to build a better community at school.
“Sometimes it’s good to not play with your best friend all the time, and play with other friends so you get to know them,” Amy said.
The troop, third grade going into fourth grade, is entering their fifth year in Girl Scouts, and will soon be bridging to Juniors.
The past year, and this project, have been their biggest so far, Borchert said.
“It’s really fun to see them working on a project like this,” she said.
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