Meet a Special Group of Women from Silvercrest at Deer Creek
If you’re a Girl Scout donor, you’re probably familiar with the birthday cards that come, hand addressed, to your mailbox once a year. These cards, signed by Girl Scouts from our council on the inside are addressed on the outside by a group of volunteers at Silvercrest Retirement Community at Deer Creek. The team of four residents, Carol Hollander, Anne Roane, “Dot” Sime and Harriet Copus, and activities coordinator, Diane VanBuskirk, address the cards by hand as part of a monthly service project.
In January 2016, Diane was looking for a service project the residents. As a strong advocate of residents having a choice of activities, she knew service was something that many wanted to have the option of doing. After trying several organizations that didn’t quite have the right project for the community, she remembered being a Girl Scout leader and reached out to GSKSMO. Virginia Pennington, Administrative Assistant for the Fund Development department knew the birthday card project would be a great fit.
Each month GSKSMO drops off birthday cards already signed by one of many volunteer Girl Scout troops and a list for the ladies at Silvercrest. Sitting together at a table over the course of a few days, the ladies chat and address the cards together. In all, the ladies spend about 7 hours a month each working on the cards – that’s around 35 hours of volunteer time for Girl Scouts between the five of them! The ladies enjoy giving back to the community and having a social activity each month. “We enjoy helping the community because it gives us a feeling of accomplishment,” Carol said.
While they write they discuss their lives and sometimes are intrigued by last names or places they’re addressing to. “I remember writing ‘Napoleon, Missouri’ and none of us knew where that was! So I got out my atlas and found it,” Dot said.
For Anne, Diane and Dot, their history with Girl Scouts goes back to their childhood or time raising children. Anne was a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader in the early 1970s and remembers doing unique activities like dissecting frogs. “To be honest, we dissected frogs with the girls because I was leading the Boy Scouts and ordered too many frogs. When I got them in, I thought, ‘well, the girls are going to do it too!’ When we went to dissect them, I think the girls were better. They were more curious. One of the boys wouldn’t even get the knife close to the frog,” said Anne. As a child welfare worker, Anne said “I felt like I worked for the Girl Scouts before I even had daughters. When I would help foster parents I told them to put the foster child in scouting because it was a really good thing.”
From her Girl Scout experience, Dot remembers camping when she was the leader of her daughter’s Brownie troop in Illinois. “[When we were camping] one time, I remember one of the girls turned over a rock and there was a snake under there…I don’t remember if the girls were scared, but I was!” Dot said. Diane also remembers camping with her daughters, Aubrey, Caitlin, Kelsey and Rebecca, who were all Girl Scouts. She was the leader for Caitlin and Kelsey’s troop and volunteered for Aubrey and Rebecca’s troop.
Carol was a Boy Scout Den Leader Coach when she lived in Iowa with her three sons, Bill, Scott and Todd. Bill became and Eagle Scout, but all three were in scouting because her husband and father were Boy Scouts and supported the boys being part of it. As Diane says, “Carol was handpicked for this group, I thought she’d like it.” There’s a definite sense of pride that Carol and all the ladies have for working on a community project.
The work these women continue to do is invaluable to the Girl Scout organization. By taking the time to hand address envelopes every month, they’re supporting the efforts of Girl Scouts to thank our donors during their birthday, a special time of the year. During the rest of the month the team is busy with personal hobbies and activities. Harriet is a baker who makes Norwegian cuisine that everyone raves about (we are really interested in the cinnamon rolls and lefse, a traditional Norwegian flatbread she told us about)! Dot enjoys chatting with other residents about their careers and learning interesting stories.
When asked why the like this project, Harriet summed it up very well, saying “I love volunteer work and I like that it helps girls.” This team of ladies truly enjoys just spending time together and helping where they can. The work they’re doing truly makes a difference and they know they’re having a direct impact on girls in their community. We cannot thank them enough for their incredible work!
If you’ve received a hand addressed card from one of these ladies, comment below! We’d love to see how far their impact reaches.