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Local Girl Scouts raise funds for bike rack, learn about safety

A Bronze Award is the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can achieve. It requires Girl Scouts in grades 4-5 to organize a plan that makes a difference in their communities. The Girl Scouts of Troop 966 at Tampa Palms Elementary decided that they wanted to do something for kids to earn their Bronze Award, something to keep them safe and healthy.

First, they brainstormed and decided that their primary concern was not only for kids to be safe while biking or walking to school, but to encourage them to do so as well. But first, the school would need a safe place for children to keep their bikes. To address this, the girls raised money to provide Tampa Palms Elementary with a bike rack. The troop sold homemade chocolate lollipops, collected goods and sold them at a community sale, handed out $5 “chore” coupons to the local women’s club that they could redeem for odd jobs the scouts would do for them, and, naturally, sold their famous Girl Scout cookies. Troop leader Mieke Caris commented on the efforts that lead to their success: “It’s good for them, it teaches them that it’s hard to make money.”

And work hard they did.

The Girl Scouts interviewed their school principal, local police officers, parents, and children to see what common concerns people have about safety. The overwhelming response to the interviews the girls conducted was that most people support safe biking and walking to school. The school principal applauded the troop’s project to encourage kids to use alternative modes of transportation on daily commutes. The police officers told the girls that kids should bike to school but they should be safe: follow the rules of the road and wear a helmet.

But does everyone know the rules of the road?

To address the possibility that some parents and kids do not, the Girl Scouts and the Tampa Palms Elementary PTA requested a joint WalkWise Tampa Bay/Safe Routes to School Tampa presentation for both children and adults that took place after school on May 19. Parents and children split off into breakout groups and were provided safety tips tailored for each audience. The event was such a success that the Girl Scouts and the PTA hope to have WalkWise Tampa Bay and Safe Routes Tampa come every year to teach the community how to stay safe and make good decisions when they bike or walk to school.

Click here to request a WalkWise Tampa Bay presentation in your community!

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