Anybody who went to the Franklin gun show this past weekend may have noticed something different about the bi-annual show. Among the guns, tazers, rations and other survival gear, just inside the lobby of the Macon County Community Facilities Building a visitor could find Girl Scout Troop 30536 posted up to sell cookies.
The business venture was to aid the troop's pursuit of a Silver Award, the second highest award than can be attained by a girl scout and the highest for a Girl Scout Cadette (6th-8th grade). In order to receive the award, girls complete a Cadette Journey prior to beginning their project. Once that is completed, the girls must complete a 50-hour service project that will positively impact the community. Upon completion of the project, the Girl Scouts submit a report to their local Girl Scout Council.
As their community service project, Troop 30536 chose to raise money via cookie sales and other community events to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine for Macon Middle School – the only school in the county that does not have one. Since a machine usually costs between $1,400 and $1,800, the girls have stayed busy raising the funds.
The table where they were conducting their business this past weekend was a donation made by Gem Capitol Show proprietor Todd Davis. Event organizer Ron Haven reached out to a mother of one of the girl scouts to make it happen.
"We had gone to other gun shows where girl scouts had expressed interest in selling cookies, so I contacted one of the ladies and asked her if the girls would be interested in selling at our show," said Haven. "I think they had a really good day on Saturday. I heard a lot of positive feedback from the patrons that attended."
Once the funds are raised, the machine is purchased and the project comes to a close, the four girls will receive the Silver Award at the Girl Scout Peaks to Piedmont Council Regional ceremony in Asheville in May.
Brooklyn Houghland, Kathryn MacDonald, Ezri Villiard and Zee Keezer are all students at MMS and believe that the addition of the AED machine is much needed.
“Macon Middle School is the only school that doesn't have one so we wanted to do something to help them buy one,” Zee said on Saturday.
The school hosts many school and community sporting events, is home to a community walking trail and picnic area, but does not have the life saving machine if an emergency were to occur.
The project doesn't consist of just cookie sales. It requires planning and implementation as well. Despite requirements that mirror something from a higher education course, 12-year-old Zee hardly batted an eye when discussing the steps she and the other girls have taken in pursuit of the award.
“It's been hard work, but it's been educational and a lot of fun,” she said.
County Commissioner Jim Tate was attending the show when he came across the table of young cookie vendors saying that he was impressed by their willingness to volunteer.
“It is good to see them working on a project that will benefit a local school,” he said. "There's a deep sense of community here and I always appreciate that."
If you would like to help support these girls, MMS and the community, contact Tammy Keezer (leader) at 342-4539 or Robin Villiard (co-leader) at 332-1544.