Local Junior Girl Scouts complete birdhouse project
IRON RIVER—When Girl Scout Troop 5300 leader Ashley Kempka met with her junior scouts at the beginning of the school year, she asked the girls where their interests lie and what kind of project they would like to embark on as they continued their journey along the Girl Scout path.
And with this being the U.P. after all, the troop – Kempka and junior scouts McKenna Bryant, Olivia Dretzka and Danni Yarger - zeroed in on their general area of interest rather quickly.
“Outdoors is a big thing up here, camping and things like that,” Kempka said. “So, we started going toward the ‘Outdoor Junior Journey’ and then with that, kind of pieced it all together.”
What the troop decided to do was to design and paint birdhouses to hang along the Apple Blossom Trail to complete a “self-sustaining community project.” Kempka’s father-in-law Russ built and donated the birdhouses and the girls took over from there.
After the birdhouses were completed, the troop held a ceremonial day of sorts on Oct. 29 to hang the houses to provide habitat for native birds during the upcoming months.
“I felt happy,” said Dretzka, who is Kempka’s 10-year-old daughter. “It was pretty easy (doing the project) but it’s like you should make the most fun of it before it ends.”
The houses are staggered along the Apple Blossom Trail.
“We let the girls choose the trees that they wanted, but we also took into consideration the health of the tree, the distance from the path so that people can see them but they’re not very accessible so they wouldn’t get damaged,” Kempka said.“It was a great day. We had all the girls and their parents join us at the RV Park and the weather was absolutely gorgeous so that worked out really well.”
Still, Olivia is not terribly confident the birdhouse she hung is going to be able to withstand the weather when it’s not so gorgeous, explaining with a bit of girl-scout knowledge.
“I think mine would come down once the rain comes because I did a mini-knot. I just tied like a normal knot. It’s not double-knotted or triple knotted, it’s just one knot and it’s going to fall one day.”
Whether or not that happens, Olivia and her friends Danni and McKenna earned their Girl Scout Bronze Awards for their efforts, the highest honor award that a Junior Girl Scout can achieve.
The steps along their way to their award included recognizing a need in the community, brainstorming a solution and executing the project.