Doggy eyes lit up with joy at West Vancouver’s BC SPCA branch last month when two North Vancouver girl guides dropped off a bundle of new hand-made stuffed toys just for them.
The girl guides, Georgia Chilton, 12, and Alice Link, 11, stitched up the dog toys, shaped like little bears, all by themselves as part of the community service section requirement toward the completion of the Lady Baden Powell Award with the Girl Guides of Canada.
The award is the highest achievement that can be earned in the program.
“Completing this award usually takes two years and requires a dedicated effort to completing program work, as well as participating in your patrol and unit activities,” states Girl Guides of Canada.
“The award provides an opportunity to learn more about Girl Guides and gain a deeper understanding of the sisterhood of Guiding.”
This was the last box to tick on the girls' long list of requirements, to reach their goal.
Pam Chilton said her daughter, who’s a student at Ridgeway Elementary, had made some stuffed toy bears previously for the school’s craft fair, so she’d had some practice sewing.
But it was after a new family member, a black Labrador puppy named Lizzie, joined the family just before Christmas that her daughter was inspired to make her first dog toy. “She decided to make Lizzie a toy,” Chilton said. “That's how it got started. So, she made one of the bears that she had made for the craft fair for our dog.”
When it came time to decide what project to do as part of her service component for her Lady Baden Powell Award, dog toys once again sprung into Georgia’s mind, Chilton said.
With a passion for animals, Georgia reached out to BC SPCA’s West Vancouver branch with her mom’s help to see if she and her friend could make the dogs some stuffed toys, and, of course, they were happy to accept the kind deed.
After spending hours over the past few months creating 12 stuffies and putting squeakers inside them, the girls donated the toys to some very grateful dogs on June 17. The BC SPCA rescues animals from abuse and works to protect and enhance the quality of life for all animals in B.C. “The girls both love animals, so it means something to them to give back to their community in something they're interested in,” Chilton said.
“They [West Vancouver SPCA] were very happy to have them and they presented one to one of the dogs and he ripped it apart right away.” Georgia and Alice have just completed three years with the 4th North Vancouver Guides, now that they have been awarded their Lady Baden Powell Awards they'll move on to the next level of Girl Guides, Pathfinders, in the fall.
Chilton, who is also one of her daughter’s Girl Guide leaders, said she was very proud of her daughter for initiating and following through with the community project.
“I think it builds self-confidence for the girls and it gives them a feeling of pride and accomplishment,” she said. “I think it's a great thing.”
Chilton said Girl Guides is a positive influence for young girls and a great way for kids to make some new friends. “Everybody is welcome,” she said. "There is the badge work that is done, so there's a lot of curriculum, but you know, there's a lot to learn from it. There’s a lot of learning through experience. “Whether you're in it for a year or in it forever, there's lots you can take away from it.”
Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News