Beyond cookies: How Girl Scouts are ‘making the world a better place’

What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Girl Scouts? I bet that you think about those Girl Scout Thin Mints in the back of your freezer that you bought a couple of months ago. That's common, but did you ever stop to think about what these girls do year-round? Not only do they sell cookies, but they also serve, help, and have fun. 

In 2019, Cadets #4518 built an agility course for the dog park at Ottawa County Fairgrounds.

In 2019, my troop, Cadets #4518, built an agility course for the dog park at Ottawa County Fairgrounds for our Bronze Award. First, we presented our idea to the board of directors at Park Township and got approved. 

Next, we built two A-frames. After that, we got unwanted tires to create dog tunnels in both the little and big dog park. Last, but not least, we made weave poles out of PVC pipes.

This past summer, to maintain all our hard work, we repainted the A-frames and fixed the weave poles. So, they are currently up-to-date and strong for your use, making sure that our west Michigan dogs are intelligent and healthy.

Cleanups and care packages

Brownie troop #8355 helped clean up Holland Township's Dunton Park, which was full of trash. They got so consumed they ended up spending two hours there and picked up about 50 pounds of trash!

Brownie troop #8355 at camp.

Their leader, Tina Peterson, says, “I was very impressed.” During the past summer these girls went to Camp O’ The Hills. They had a great time camping in cabins with no electricity, kayaking, canoeing, archery, and a little geocaching. Overall, these girls had a great time and helped out while having fun.

Combined Junior troops #4763 and 8337 recently received their Bronze Award to honor their co-leader they lost not long ago due to cancer. They proceeded to make 50 care packages for all the adults receiving chemotherapy at Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, and 50 care packages for pediatric patients at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital.  

“They hoped their efforts brought joy during a difficult time,” says the troop’s leader, Stephanie Sherman. 

These care packages contained tissues, lip balm, lotion, hand sanitizer, activity books for adults and children with colored pencils and pens, kids’ books, snack items, and mint gum for the adults. The girls also made inspirational cards for each bag.

Sensory bottles and lap blankets

One local Senior troop, #4101, does Zlinks at Zeeland Public High School. They love working with special needs students, and that is where they came up with the idea of making sensory bottles to complete their Silver Award. Sensory bottles are clear bottles filled with sand, glitter, or water, and small trinkets to find in the bottles. Children can find all the stuff in the bottle, or shake the glitter or water bottles and wait until it calms down to help them release anger and calm down.  

Another troop in west Michigan, #80589, was inspired to make fleece lap blankets for adults in wheelchairs in a local nursing home for their Bronze Award. The normal bed blankets are too big, but their laps would get cold sitting in wheelchairs. They measured the residents’ laps and the distance to the floor so the blankets wouldn’t get caught in the wheels. 

‘Make the world a better place’

While doing all this, the girls also had fun helping at Thanksgiving dinners for the Rescue Mission, doing coat and food drives, taking art classes, going to Michigan’s Adventure, visiting corn mazes, having potluck dinners, and enjoying Christmas parties where they brought socks to be donated to the nursing home. These girls remind us that even in rough times, there is always hope for a better tomorrow. 

The Girl Scout Law states that Girl Scouts should make the world a better place. I think that that is exactly what these West Michigan troops are doing. 

Since Girl Scouts is not as popular as it used to be, I hope that you find yourself inspired by these young girls and aspire to be like them. If you would like to become a Girl Scout, start your own troop, or if you would like more information, contact Krystan Krucki, manager of marketing and communications for Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore, at  419-889-2296 or email at


Read more articles by Ava Devanney.