On Saturday, March 26, kids and adults of the First Walnut Grove Scout troop hosted a bottle and clothing drive to raise money for their upcoming camping trip in Hawaii.
The event started at 9 a.m. at James Kennedy Elementary and saw participation from multiple families and individuals in and around the neighbourhood.
Kids were seen sorting and bagging empty cans and bottles under the supervision of troop administrator Kathy Sulmyka and multiple scout leaders.
With a $5,000 goal for this event, the team wanted to move closer to their Hawaii vacation fund goal of raising $57,500 in total. Even with limited fundraising opportunities due to COVID, the scout group has raised $27,000 over the course of two years. But, raising the remaining $30,000 seems to be nothing less than a challenge for them.
This year, all of the fundraisers, according to Sulmyka, have only made half of what they normally do. Even after restrictions have started to lift, the group is not making enough money. She was afraid that kids would not be able to reach their fundraising goals but wanted to keep going, regardless of the outcome.
Determined to make it happen, Sulmyka said it was disappointing, but parents might have to chip in for the trip. If not because of COVID, the local scout group would have met its goals. Pointing out the urgent need to raise money for the summer trip, Sulmyka said every donation counts. Sharing the same sentiments, Grade 6 student Brianna Parrott, too, has high hopes from the community.
“We hope people come down and help us so we can go to Hawaii,” said the 11-years-old scout.
Already thinking about her upcoming trip, little Parrott is looking forward to camping around the retired battleship.
“It will be awesome. I really hope we are able to raise money,” she said, excited.
Parrott, one of the bottle sorters, was accompanied by her mother and scout leader, Jennifer Parrott. Jennifer emphasized on the summer trip deadline and urged the community to donate.
Grade 7 student Jacques Champagne, another sorter, was pumped up with excitement and was seen encouraging his teammates.
In addition to the trip funds, Champagne was excited to contribute towards a project that promotes recycling and environmental protection.
With all focus and eyes still on sorting the bottles, he paused a few seconds to relax his hands and emphasized his team’s recycling efforts to protect the environment. Mostly bottles, but people were also seen donating clothing, shoes, and linens. Sulmyka thanked the community for coming together and helping kids get the trip they deserve.
The one-week Hawaii trip on the O’ahu island is planned for July. In addition to the trip, Sulmyka wanted to raise awareness about the scouts group, of which she is a part of for than 30 years.
She encouraged kids and parents to learn more about the group. “Scouting is like a family. You are constantly spending time and helping out as much as you can. It teaches you about community, world, and gives you leadership skills.” Jennifer, too encouraged other parents to get involved. “It gives kids a chance to grow and learn team building skills,” she said.
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