Local Girl Scouts troop receives highest honor

In December, the San Benito Girl Scout Troops 20030 completed their Junior Bronze Award, the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn.

To complete the requirements for the honor, the squad had to identify a need in the community before having to put in a minimum of 20 hours into the project. The Troops 20030, which is comprised of 12 fifth graders, made and stuffed over 250 Christmas stockings and Santa sacks. With help from the Community Food Bank’s Pantry program, they distributed them to children of needy families on Dec. 5 and 17 at the Food Bank.

“It’s a really special honor, and just to see the girls wanting to give that time and effort to a worthy cause was something special,” said Liz Bongatti, the 20030 troop leader. “The girls had a fantastic time working together and seeing how their work put a smile on people’s faces.”

The Troops 20030 include Bongatti, co-leader Kim Reiland, Hailie Bongatti, Renee Borch, Jenna Burdick, Isabella Barcelone, Eleanor Guaracha, Chloe Gunnels, Silea Louise Mendoza, Mya Moreno, Giselle Morris, Piper Pierson, Julia Reiland and Ashlyn Wrobel.

There are 27 different Girl Scout Troops in Hollister, ranging from the Daisies category (kindergarten) all the way up to girls in high school. Troops 20030, which is comprised of girls who attend the Accelerated Achievement Academy, Cerra Vista, Hollister Prep and Ladd Lane, made the stockings from scratch and filled them with toothbrushes, pencils and candy.

To make the stockings, the girls had to use hot glue and stick cotton balls on the outside of the stocking. “It was super cute, and people at the Food Pantry were astounded,” Liz Bongatti said. “We handed out at least 230 stockings.”

The stockings were such a hit that all of them were gone near the end of the Dec. 17 handout. In addition to the stockings, the girls made over 230 Santa bags that were filled with candy cane reindeer. Hailie Bongatti, who is the daughter of Liz Bongatti, said every part of the project was a great experience.

“We got to do a lot of cool stuff like going to the food pantry,” said Hailie, who is a fifth-grader at Accelerated Achievement Academy. “My favorite part was the food pantry because we got to work with some people and help spread some cheer. The most challenging thing was making the stockings, but it was fun. … I’ve been in the Girl Scouts since the first grade, and they teach you to be a good person and be a leader. I’m learning how to be a leader, which is amazing.”

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