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Scouting leaders guide young minds, hearts

April 19, 2014
By Nicole Walby - Staff Writer ( , The Advertiser-Tribune

To give back to the community, Girl Scouts from Troop 50027 spent $50 each from their cookie sales to purchase stuffed animals from Build-a-Bear to give to Mercy Tiffin Hospital and Tiffin Fire Department.

The stuffed animals were donated to provide comfort to children, Troop Leader Trudy Margraf said.

Margraf has 10 girls in her troop.

Article Photos

Girl Scouts from Troop 50027 hand off their stuffed animal donations to firefighters from the Tiffin Fire Department April 12. The scouts also donated animals to Mercy Tiffin Hospital to help comfort children.

"It is fun to be a part of the Girl Scouts to see the girls grow up and watch them take over," Margraf said. "Volunteering has shown the girls it is important to show compassion for others that need help."

Tiffin Fire Department's Capt. Chad Corfman, said, "It is nice to know that a group of young people like the Girl Scouts thinks about their community."

Corfman said the department uses the toys to help comfort children who are scared.

"It helps to distract them," he said.

Troop Leader Andrea Nekirk and Service Unit Leader Lee Szablewski of Troop 50292 said they have worked with their girls to help the Seneca County Humane Society, Harvest for Hunger, Tiffin-Seneca United Way's Day of Caring, Morrison House, Ronald McDonald House and Stockings for Soldiers.

"Helping others early helps the girls learn how to care for others and as they get older. It just comes automatically," Szablewski said. "Volunteering has even helped the girls learn skills with math and savings and working with a budget.

"The girls learn to be confident leaders and ultimately be a friend and a sister."

Volunteering is not just for younger scouts. Don Schalk has been serving with the Boy Scouts for 40 years.

Schalk said he first got involved with Scouts when his three sons participated in the program.

"They learned a lot, had a lot of fun and had a good experience," Schalk said. "I decided to keep it going for the other boys."

Schalk said he served on an advisory committee for Scout masters to help them decide on activities and programs for their troops.

Over the years, Schalk said the most important skill Scouts learn is to cooperate with each other.

"It is not one-on-one," he said. "The kids have to work together. If they get comrades out of it, it has been a great experience."

Schalk received a medal this month from Friends for Scouting at St. Mary Catholic Church for his service to the Scouts.

"It was a big surprise. I was not expecting it," Schalk said. "It was very touching."

Schalk said the experience that meant the most for him happened when he was delivering gasoline to a station in Fremont early one evening. He was approached by a young man who had known him from Scouts.

"He approached me, in the dark, and thanked me for being in the Scouts and what I had done for him," Schalk said. "It really touched me that someone would remember me. It was very rewarding."



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