ROCHELLE — Five Rochelle Middle School students in Girl Scout Troop 3217 began their project with hopes to promote positivity and the results will undoubtedly be impactful for years to come.
As a result of their efforts, the girls also received the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the highest award Girl Scout Cadettes can earn.
Anna Harvey, Macy Ramos, Baylie Sutton, Bella Nauman and Sierra Ramos painted positive messages on the walls in four of the girls’ bathrooms at RMS. The idea came earlier this year as a way to earn community service hours while uplifting their female classmates and helping to prevent the spread of negativity.
“As a mom and leader I am proud. They had the idea that they wanted to make other girls feel good and from start to finish they worked so hard,” said Jacki Nauman, Girl Scout Troop 3217 leader. “It was what they wanted to do. It was their baby and it was awesome to see.”
Nauman, along with Lisa Sutton, lead the troop. She explained earning the Silver Award involves choosing a “Take Action Project,” which will impact the community in some way. It also requires a minimum of 50 leadership hours spent identifying critical issues along with producing and implementing the project.
The girls presented their idea back in February to the Rochelle Elementary School Board and to obtain permission for the project. At the time, board members Jean Tess and Shirley Reif, both spoke out commending the girls for their idea.
“As a past Girl Scout leader I give you all kudos because usually when you hit the middle school age, Girl Scout attendance starts to plummet,” Reif said to the girls at the meeting in February. “To see you all standing tall and proud and lifting up other girls in middle school is really hard, especially for girls. I give you props.”
Superintendent Todd Prusator also expressed his support of the plan.
On a mission
Once the girls received permission they set out to transform the walls in the bathrooms with words of encouragement and positivity. They began during spring break and while the project was in the process they kept their identities under wraps.
Some of the sayings include, “She believed she could so she did,” and “Be A Pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown, and always be sweet.”
After the project’s completion, surveys were left in the bathrooms to see if their efforts made a difference, with many leaving positive comments.
“The girls kept it anonymous at the school that they were doing the project because they wanted a neutral reaction from everyone. Their names were announced during the last assembly at the school,” Nauman said. “They received 30 feedback responses. We heard from our daughters that some of them are asking why the boys’ bathrooms were not done. Their idea is to have this continue…we love that the students want to see it in the boys’ bathrooms too.”
On Sunday, June 3, the Girl Scouts’ Southern Ogle Service Unit hosted a bridging and awards ceremony. The five Cadettes were presented with the Silver Award. Other scouts were also presented with various awards as well. The Southern Ogle Service Unit represents Girls Scouts from Chana, Creston, Esmond, Hillcrest, Kings, Lindenwood, Mt. Morris, Oregon, Rochelle, and Stratford.
The event included the Bridging Ceremony where Girl Scouts at each level walked across the Camp McCormick Bridge to the next level of Girl Scouting.