Safety, health and a Silver Award

INDIAN TRAIL – Three local Girl Scouts are aiming to make kids’ lives safer and healthier through their Silver Award project.

The Girl Scouts of Hornets’ Nest Council Troop 941 designed, made and sold coasters to raise funds for the SafeKidz Health Fair. The girls organized the fair, scheduled for Aug. 24, as part of their Bronze Award project.

The Girl Scouts of Hornets’ Nest Council Troop 941 designed, made and sold coasters to raise funds for the SafeKidz Health Fair. The girls organized the fair, scheduled for Aug. 24, as part of their Bronze Award project.

Lizzie, Kayla and Bailey, of Indian Trail-based Hornets’ Nest Council Troop 941, knew they wanted to reach out to children through their Silver Award project and began brainstorming earlier this year. After juggling several ideas, the girls settled on hosting a health fair for children.

“The girls in the troop … came up with the idea to do a community kids’ health fair to help kids learn about good health habits, eating, exercising, (taking care of) teeth, etc.,” Denise Duxbury, the troop’s co-leader, said.

The SafeKidz Health Fair takes place Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hemby Bridge Fire Station, 6628 Mill Grove Road in Indian Trail. The event is free to attend and will feature a variety of health and safety activities, as well as information for parents.

The troop members spent about seven months organizing the event – beginning with deciding what activities they wanted the fair to feature. A lot of inspiration stemmed from their Google searches, troop leader Jean Watson said.

“They Googled what a health fair is,” Watson said. “A lot of the ideas of what they wanted to include came off the Internet.”

The SafeKidz Health Fair will feature a variety of demonstrations and activities for kids – a smoke house, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, door prizes, booths focused on eating healthy, anti-bullying, dental care and more.

Other activities include “stranger danger,” car seat checks and information on sun safety and skin cancer, courtesy of a local dermatologist.

But the fair isn’t strictly informational; it’s also interactive.

“Instead of just having booths, we try to do some experiments,” Watson said. “One girl’s experiment is washing hands to get the germs off. One (experiment) touches on what second-hand smoke does to you.”

Other activities for kids focus on exercise through hula hoops, races and more.

“They touch on all the different aspects of being healthy,” she said.

During the planning stage, the girls worked to raise money to cover some of the fair’s expenses. They hosted yard sales and also made coasters out of tile and scrapbook paper and sold them as a fundraiser.

“We sanded (the tile) down to keep the rough edges off, put scrapbook paper on and sprayed with a clear spray,” said Duxbury’s daughter, Kayla, a 12-year-old troop member. “It was easy, and they actually looked really cute, too, and were really good gifts.”

Finding a venue was easy, Watson said, as a troop member’s mother works at the Hemby Bridge Fire Department. Recruiting sponsors, however, was another story.

“Getting up the courage to contact people directly, and getting people to return phone calls was the most challenging thing,” Watson said. “The girls are shy, but they started doing conference calls (with their troop leaders), and they (had more success) from that.”

The best part, Kayla said, was the motivation the troop received from those around them.

“A lot of friends and neighbors were keeping us going instead of letting us quit,” she said.

Watson said the girls’ hard work and dedication has paid off, adding she hopes community members will check out the fair – and maybe learn a few things while they’re at it.

“I think this would be a great family event just to get out,” she said. “It won’t cost them anything, and it’s just a fun time to spend with your children.”

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