Volunteer Spotlight: Shannon Twilling
Hi there! I’m Shannon Twilling and I’m the fearless leader of Troop #4, a mixed-level Daisy/Brownie troop. We’re just finishing our second year together and it’s been a blast! Some of the cool things we've done are: camped at the Hacienda (the first time camping for a lot of the girls – and a few of the adults!); made some fun art and science projects (did you know you can make slime from white glue and borax?!); painted beads at Ben’s Bells (supporting their mission of spreading kindness and learning about kindness as a sustainable act!); exchanged friendship letters with a sister troop in Connecticut; and learned about the world around us through a Girl Scout World Thinking Day postcard exchange!
The girls have worked through several journeys at the Daisy and Brownie level and done some fun community service/Take Action projects as part of them:
As part of the “Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden” we volunteered at the Community Food Bank garden (in addition to helping – we learned a LOT about gardening and sustainable food sources!);
As part of “Three Cheers for Animals” we visited the Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids and taught our friends and family about how to care for animals;
As part of Brownie Quest we created a family tree and explored our connections with our community.
Our Daisies are going to work through the “Between Earth and Sky” journey soon and are hoping to earn the Journey Summit Award before they bridge to Brownies at the end of the summer.
The Daisies and Brownies worked together to complete a Take Action project associated with the Brownie “World of Girls” journey by creating their own library! They joined the “Little Free Library” movement in order to promote literacy and get more books circulating in their community. They dedicated their library solely to children’s books. For those who are not familiar with the “Little Free Library” movement, people place small containers throughout their community that are filled with books. It operates on the concept of “Take a Book, Leave a Book.” There is a website – www.littlefreelibrary.org – where library stewards can receive an official LL charter number and get connected to a network of all the LL’s in the nation! LL users can look at the site to find LL’s in their community!
The girls transformed an old newspaper dispenser into a book trading post and collected books from friends and family (and got several donated from Bookman’s). They placed their LL near Henry Elementary school, which is where we hold our weekly meetings. Unfortunately, about a month after the LL was opened, vandals destroyed part of the structure by setting it on fire. The girls were deeply saddened and angry that all of their hard work literally went up in flames. However, since they’re Girl Scouts they didn’t let one mean act dampen their spirits.
They put out a call to action requesting donations of books to help replace the destroyed ones. They then went to work cleaning up the damaged structure so they could put it back to work. KGUN and KVOA covered the event in their news broadcasts and the KGUN9 video went viral! Soon we were receiving donations of books and support not just from members of the Tucson community – but all over the country – including Illinois, New York, and Georgia! The American Library Association sent at least 100 books and Bookman’s donated at least 100 more! A person we’d never met before set up a kickstarter account for us and helped us raise over $1,000 towards the rebuilding effort! We learned that for every mean-spirited person in the world, there are thousands of kind-hearted ones.
As you might’ve guessed – we have received more books and money than we need, so we want to share it with our fellow Girl Scouts! The girls are in the process of creating a YouTube video to share how/why they created their Little Library and encourage other kids to create their own. They will be offering grants to assist other Girl Scout troops to build their own Little Libraries and will provide books to fill them up! We will share the video and grant application as soon as they’re done – hopefully by the end of June!
To see an update on Troop 4 and their rebuilding, see them at http://www.jrn.com/kgun9/news/Jokes-on-you-Local-Girl-Scouts-rebuilding-Little-Libraries-after-arson-attacks-260062821.html
Do you know a volunteer that has shown outstanding service and would like to see them here? Or are you a volunteer who has a passion for sharing some pearls of wisdom with our volunteer community? Please send nominations for future spotlights to email@example.com.