BY MARY WICOFF
WESTVILLE — What happens to crayons that are no longer useful?
Six members of the Westville Girl Scout Troop 2611 collected those broken or unwanted crayons and sent them to a recycling center recently. For their efforts, the girls earned their Bronze Award, the highest award they can earn as a Junior Girl Scout.
Those involved were: Kyan Corley, sixth-grader at Schlarman Academy; Erin Toole, Santasia Elliott and Charity Cline, all sixth-graders at Judith Giacoma Elementary; and Autumn Marsh and Josalynn Castillo, both fifth-graders at Judith Giacoma.
Leader Jennifer Toole said the girls started in January and brainstormed ideas for a community service project. They then spent many hours (they each had to perform 20 hours) wrapping collection boxes and distributing them to school classrooms, churches and the Westville Library.
They also had to give a presentation to their principals in order to get approval to put the boxes in each classroom. The girls had to learn to work as a team to make the project successful.
At the end of the school year, they collected all of the boxes and sent them to the Crayon Recycling Program, where they were melted down to make new crayons. The girls collected about 77 pounds of crayons, Toole said.
Toole said the girls described the project as “fun,” “cool” and “awesome.”
What did they learn?
Toole said, “They learned about all of the wasted crayons every year and how most people just threw them away.”
She added, “They also learned a little about public speaking because they had to come up with a presentation and give it to their principal.”
Toole said the girls are now thinking of ideas for their Silver Award as Cadettes.
Assistant leaders for the Westville troop are Charla Spencer-Elliott and Brandi Gustin.
Over the last calendar year, Girl Scouts in Danville and other areas around Champaign have initiated a number of efforts to give back to their communities. The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois recognizes outstanding projects with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for those projects.
The Girl Scouts in Morton earned a Gold Award by helping veterans at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System. The leaders visited eight troops and talked about the importance and sacrifice of veterans. They encouraged troops to make cards and collect donations to help local vets.
The troop rented space at a community building and hosted a donation booth, collecting donations from community members for two days. They collected an estimated $2,500 in books, blankets, clothes, toiletries, etc., and delivered them to the VA in Danville, along with 74 cards.
The National Crayon Recycle Program, in conjunction with Crazy Crayons, is a community service effort that has made it possible to keep more than 86,000 pounds of unwanted crayons from going into landfills. The program has drop-off bins nationally.
The program accepts all crayons except those made in China and other foreign countries, as they may have questionable content.
In fact, the program encourages restaurants and consumers to purchase only American-made crayons, which may cost a bit more, but they’re good quality.
Children involved in the project don’t have to do anything except set out boxes, collect the crayons and ship them to the site. They may sort by color, if they want.
For more information, visit the website www.crazycrayons.com.
— It’s not too late to join Girl Scouts. Most people associate back-to-school time as the time to get involved, but girls can join now. Go to www.girlscouts-gsci.org
— Volunteers are needed to help with Girl Scouts. That doesn’t mean eight hours a week — just whatever time you have, the group will find a meaningful way for you to get involved.
— The cookie program is the world’s largest financial literacy program. Get your daughter involved and she will learn how to set goals, make decisions, manage her money, business ethics and people skills.
— At any given time 10 percent of American girls are Girl Scouts. However, when you look at female business owners or senior executives at Fortune 500 companies, 80 percent of those women were former Girl Scouts.