Cary, NC – The Girl Scouts of America aims to not only teach girls and young women important skills but also encourage them to use what they’ve learned to help their community. That is what one Cary Girl Scout did, receiving the Silver Award in the process.
Sunshine In A Bag
Kayla Reiff, of Troop 1633, created a new project to assist the families of veterans and military members, first getting the idea when she was delivering the iconic Girl Scout Cookies.
“When I would go to military hospitals and centers and give them out, I noticed how excited servicemen were when they got the cookies,” Reiff said. “That made me want to work more with them.”
For her project, “A Ray of Sunshine for Military Kids,” Reiff started volunteering at the Fisher House at Camp Lejeune. The houses offer temporary housing for the families of veterans and military personnel who are getting medical treatment or are recuperating. Reiff said she heard about the Fisher House from her father, who works at Fort Bragg.
“When we went to volunteer, I talked to the people there and I wanted to give back,” Reiff said.
Reiff set about finding ways to improve the stays of the families at the Fisher House. She created a program for “Sunshine bags,” which contained toys such as playing cards and beach balls, for the children of servicemembers to keep themselves entertained while they waited. She also provided toys for the playroom.
“They didn’t have any toys so I wanted to create a way to cheer them up,” she said.
Getting Community Involved
To create these Sunshine bags, Reiff reached out around Cary to get items for the children of military members.
“I collected donations from businesses around here and also did a drive at my school,” she said.
While she collected the donations, Reiff also handed out fliers she created about the Fisher House.
“It’s so more people can know about the Fisher House and the things they need,” she said. “I also used Good Deeds Day at a time to hand out pamphlets.”
For her project, Reiff received the Silver Award from the Girl Scouts – Coastal Pines, which is the top award for Girl Scouts aged sixth to eighth grade. The award goes to scouts who show leadership through 50 hours or more dedicated toward a service project that makes a difference in their community.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Karina Reiff and the Camp Lejeune Fisher House.