One of the sustainable practices that Emerald Keepers subscribes to is recycling items rather than discarding them. For a third year, local Girl Scout Troop 6561 has taken to heart the practice of recycling by collecting gently-used and new Halloween costumes which are then donated to the San Diego Monarch School. The Monarch School serves about 300 unhoused students in grades K-12 who live in San Diego County.
One recent afternoon, the Girl Scouts met to begin sorting Halloween costumes they had collected in bins at the offices of five local schools – Christ Church, Village Elementary, Silver Strand Elementary, Coronado Middle School, and Coronado High School. After last year’s recycling collection, 186 costumes and accessories were given to the Monarch School.
Katie Bell, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 6561, started with the Girl Scout organization seven years ago when she learned no one had come forward to form a much-needed new troop. The junior troop of girls meets every Thursday and consists of a small group of fifth graders. Bell keeps the troop smaller in number “so the girls can connect with each other.” She is also assisted by two of the girls’ mothers.
Bell is well-accustomed to volunteering with young people. At present, she home-schools her daughter who is a member of the troop. However, when her daughter was a student at Village Elementary School for a number of years, Bell had been a room mother, an art volunteer with “Meet the Masters” program and a reading program volunteer with “Everyone A Reader.” She readily admits to “always raising her hand” when an opportunity to help presents itself.
The Girl Scouts were asked what they do to be Emerald Keepers. Their answers included picking up trash, especially all those candy wrappers after Halloween; bringing reusable bottles to their scout meetings or to school; cleaning and reusing their mess kits when they go camping with the troop; properly disposing of old American flags; and doing beach cleanups with other scouts. They discussed that using plastic is not good for the environment because it doesn’t decompose. As one scout explained, “You cannot use plastic water bottles in the ocean because it can harm animals like turtles or little fish that go inside. Big fish swallow a lot of plastic, too.”
Congratulations to Katie Bell and Girl Scout Troop 6561 for being the November Emerald Keepers of the Month.