On Tuesday 12 July 2016 we, the Sika Senior Branch, met up with an American Girl Scout Troop 10047 from Florida, which we had been in contact with for the last few months.
Our leader Sarah Canavan had come in contact with this group and organised skype meetings for us to introduce ourselves to them and we understand the reason for their visit until we finally met them in Muckross Venture Centre.
The Girl Scouts had arrived in Ireland earlier that day and were both tired and excited. We got to know each other further and completed the American Guides Tradition Badge and also the Irish version. We also packed and prepared our "Heart 2 Heart" care packages, which we again met up to distribute the following day.
Keeping with our idea of Guide outings and traditions, we made hot dogs and tried Irish and American s’mores! As a gift we received many Girl Scout cookies, which we had only seen before in movies!
On Wednesday morning 13 July, we met the Florida Troop at 10am at St Columbanus Hospital with the “Heart 2 Heart” care packages, which were filled with T-shirts, towels, toiletries, crossword books etc. and enclosed within nicely decorated canvas bags. Before entering the hospital, a photographer from Kerry's Eye Newspaper arrived to take a few photos of us with the care packages.
We all then proceeded to go into the hospital where we separated into little groups to distribute the care packages among the many patients who live there. The patients were delighted by this kind gesture and the fact that we took the time out to visit them. It was also a fantastic way of interacting with the American Girl Scouts while also doing a good deed. Judging by the positive response on the successful visit from the residents and nurses, it has inspired us Senior Branchers to continue on with the kind donations for these worthy causes.
“Heart 2 Heart” is a programme set up by the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida. The younger Girl Scouts design the cloth tote bags and the older Girl Scouts collect the items for the care packages. These packages are then donated to nursing homes, foster kids, children’s hospitals etc.
This experience has taught us much more about Guiding and the kindness of the American Girl Scouts was overwhelming. There was plenty to learn from meeting up with a group of Guides from so far away!
~ Orla Finn and Rebecca O’Reilly (Sika Senior Branch)