Local Girl Scout Troop Wins Bronze Award for Helping the Community
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” The young ladies who make up Girl Scout Troop 212 understand this sentiment, and live it. Made up of 13 fifth-graders, most of these girls have been a part of Girl Scouts since they were in kindergarten. Candace Monzingo has been the troop’s leader for the past six years. She’s also a full-time nurse who has a passion for volunteering at Meals on Wheels of Hendricks County, a nonprofit that delivers meals to homebound seniors who cannot make their own meals due to illness, disability or age.
Monzingo has introduced her Girl Scout troop to Meals on Wheels, so every other week when the troop meets, they decorate 100 lunch bags for the organization. They even decorated bags in the early days of the pandemic when they weren’t meeting in person as a group (Monzingo dropped the bags at each girl’s house). They didn’t want to take a hiatus from giving, because it’s the lifeblood of what they do.
Last summer Meals on Wheels hosted a car show, and Troop 212 got involved. The girls arranged a kids area with activities like face painting and building cars out of Twinkies. In total they raised several hundred dollars, and all proceeds benefitted Meals on Wheels.
Troop 212 recently won the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is one of the highest awards in Girl Scouts. This award is given out to a troop that makes a real difference in its community. For these girls, that’s all they’ve ever known. It’s also what they love.
“They’re a very active troop who is all about giving back,” says Michelle Logan, whose daughter is a part of Troop 212. “Serving is just ingrained in them, as evidenced by the fact that their vests are full of patches. Honestly, though, they were more excited about participating in events than they were about earning the pin or even winning the award. They enjoy volunteering so much.”
Every year Girl Scout Troop 212 also volunteers to run a s’mores station at the Halloween trick-or-treat event at Washington Township Park, to raise money for the local park system.
“Kids trick-or-treat through the woods and we set up a s’mores booth,” Logan says. “It’s great because all these little kids see our girls in vests and they’re introduced to Girl Scouts.”
The troop has modeled their volunteer habits after Monzingo, who is such a popular leader that at one point she had 18 girls in her troop.
“You’re only as good as how much effort the parents put into it,” says Logan, who has three daughters in Girl Scouts and a son in Boy Scouts. “We have one mom whose whole job is finding volunteer opportunities. I sew all the patches.”
“Everyone knows what an Eagle Scout is with Boy Scouts,” she adds. “Interestingly, there are probably more Girl Scouts in Avon than there are Boy Scouts.”
Logan says the best part of scouting is witnessing the dedication that these kids have in improving the community. A wonderful bonus of this is making excellent friends.
“You know what they say – show me your friends, show me your future,” Logan says. “As a mom, you love to see your kids making friends with like-minded people. These girls are forming positive relationships and this troop keeps them going in the right direction.”
One trait that’s naturally ingrained through participating in Scouts is the notion of doing the right thing.
“Just yesterday my kids and I were taking the dog for a walk when we came across a huge pile of trash on the street,” Logan says. “Without a thought, they said, ‘Let’s go get it.’ Serving comes naturally to them.”
This summer Troop 212 is hoping to volunteer at the Hendricks County Rib-Fest. It’s something the girls are eager to do, and there’s never any bellyaching about giving up part of their Saturday.
“Avon is a very family-centered community,” Logan says. “There are so many wonderful opportunities to volunteer.”
For the scouts and parents, the best part about winning the Bronze Award is that it may encourage others to get involved in scouts.
“Troop 212 is inspiring other troops to do better, be bigger, and be the best you can be,” Logan says.