By Elisa Krochmalnyckyj

The fourth-grade Girl Scouts will definitely be at the “Someone Special & Me” dance at Burgess Elementary School Friday, Feb. 8.

But they might not be able to dance quite as much, hang out with their friends as long, or eat as much ice cream as the other boys and girls there.

“We’re the ones who will be working at the dance,” explained Girl Scout Lila Grant, 10. “I am not sure what my job will be. I could be checking people in, or selling Girl Scout cookies, maybe scooping ice cream. Or I could be cleaning up.”

The dance is called “Someone Special & Me” because boys and girls in kindergarten through 6th grade can bring an adult with them. It could be a parent, grandparent, guardian, aunt, uncle, older brother or sister — anyone they want.

The scouts are expecting to work at the dance because the proceeds are benefiting their troop, Girl Scout Troop 14412.

“We are teaching them that not everything is handed to them, and Mom and Dad aren’t going to pay for everything they want,” said troop co-leader Susanne Savard. “The girls are putting on the dance, so the girls are doing the work. We’re stepping back and letting them lead more. And in the end, they get a reward.”

The reward? The money raised will go toward a Girl Scout weekend trip in March.

The girls have been saving for the trip for three years. Part of the reason it’s taken so long to save the money is because the troop’s coffers are also used to pay for other needs the troop has, like local trips to earn badges. And, in keeping with the Girl Scout philosophy, a good chunk of the troop’s time and money are for things that benefit others.

“We’ve been trying to show them that not all others are as fortunate as we are, and teaching them about helping those who aren’t,” she said.

That’s why in addition to raising money for the troop’s needs, the girls have set aside some of their time and money to help local groups and charities.

“This year we made 14 dog beds for Second Chance Animal Services, and last year we made 17 blankets for the NIC Unit up at UMass,” Savard said, referring to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center. “Every single premie baby goes home with a blanket that’s been donated.”

Interestingly, as Savard and co-leaders Heather Hendrick and Anna Simons watched the girls working together to help others by making dog beds, baby blankets and decorations for the dance, the leaders noticed that the girls had also learned to help each other.

“If someone noticed a problem, they’d just pitch in, without even being asked,” Savard said, adding that the girls have been together since kindergarten. “It’s like a family.”

The idea for the “Someone Special & Me” dance came from Hendrick, who volunteers at Burgess and often heard students say they wish there were school dances.

“We talked to the principal, who said ‘nobody has ever wanted to take that on,” Savard said.
The dance costs $5 per person, with a $20 maximum per family. The troop was able to keep the costs low.

“We are getting a lot donated not only from our moms, but we’re getting ice cream from Hearthstone Market, we’re getting a Champagne Toast DJ services — people are so good to us,” Savard said. “I think when you say ‘Girl Scouts,’ they are more willing to help out. It’s such a great organization.”

Hype for the dance has already been buzzing in the halls of Burgess, Lila said.

“Kids are excited and happy and really want to go,” she said. “It’s going to be great. You can bring an adult, and talk to them and dance with them and get them food, and still see your friends.”

Planning a dance is a big undertaking, the girls have learned.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do getting everything ready, getting the ice cream, decorating the room — but we’ve already made the flowers,” she explained.

The Sturbridge Times Town & Country Living Magazine


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