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Girl Scouts kick off toy drive for teens

Posted: Sunday, December 18, 2005

Troop 6 tea party

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: Juneau Pioneers Home

Toy-box locations

• Jordan Creek Mall

• Goldstein Office Building

• Department of Environmental Conservation Building

A group of Juneau girls is proving that anyone can make a difference with a little bit of work.

Girl Scout Troop 6 has begun a Tree for Teens toy drive to provide presents for foster children this Christmas. To spread holiday cheer and work toward their bronze scouting awards, three cadets have placed boxes, posters and trees at several locations around town to ensure that some of their less fortunate peers have a merry Christmas.

"The girls really wanted to make a difference for teenagers," troop leader Linnea Osborne said. "They're working really hard and they put a lot of thought into their project."

Bernadette Osborne, 11, Sierra Risley, 12, and Chevelle Hogan, 13, have each selected a location to put a box for community members to fill with presents. There is a box in the Jordan Creek Mall, the Goldstein Office Building, and one in the Department of Environmental Conservation Building.

"It's pretty important because it's our community," Risley said. "(The foster kids) don't have what we have."

Bernadette Osborne said the holiday season is an important time of the year to remember those who might not have the same advantages as other people.

"Sometimes the gift might be important because they don't have gifts," she said. "They're in foster care, away from their families."

Linnea Osborne said participation in the Girl Scouts is helping these girls learn valuable lessons that are applicable in many aspects of life.

"A lot of badge work that they do helps the girls learn and grow stronger in their abilities, but they are also encouraged to share those abilities with the community," she said. "The mission of Girl Scouts is to make stronger women and to help your communities and make the world a better place to live in."

Doreen Risley said she hopes this project will be beneficial for her daughter as well as the foster children.

"Hopefully the kids will understand that there are people out there who do care about them," she said.

Linnea Osborne said that sometimes kids know what their peers want better than adults. She said some of the gifts the kids have suggested are gift cards to Juneau businesses, music and clothes.

Bernadette Osborne said if she were one of the foster children she would like to receive an Apple iPod MP3 music player.

"Everyone should have a gift on Christmas because a lot of these kids are away from their families," she said.

Doreen Risley said sometimes the true meaning of Christmas gets lost in the material aspect of the holiday.

"I try really hard to get them involved in community projects and help out people who don't have as much as them," she said. "Sometimes they don't realize that some kids don't have presents under their trees like they do."

Linnea Osborne said hopefully this little gesture will go a long way in the foster children's lives.

"Hopefully it will make a positive difference with a lot of other teenagers in the community," she said.

Troop 6 will be hosting a tea party today with Girl Scout cookies at 2 p.m. at the Juneau Pioneers' Home.

• Eric Morrison can be reached at eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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