Memories of hospital stays have inspired two Girl Scout Silver Award projects created to comfort others at American Family Children’s Hospital.
Charlotte Hamilton and Rachael Gorman collaborated on one, and Bethany Rider completed the other. All are members of Waunakee Girl Scout Troop 2648 finishing up the eighth grade at Waunakee Middle School.
Bethany knit 60 hats for babies in the hospital, several for each season. Flowers adorn the spring hats, the Halloween season hats are fashioned into pumpkins, and Thanksgiving and Christmas themed ones feature turkeys and reindeer.
“My brother was a NICU baby,” Bethany said, referring to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “I know how hard it was for my parents to see my brother attached to tubes. It made me very sad.”
So she decided to knit hats for other NICU babies, each to mark a milestone for their parents.
“It’s critical for parents to know their child can make it to the next holiday season,” Troop Leader Lynn Gorman explained.
When Charlotte and Rachael embarked on their project, Charlotte remembered spending time in the emergency room as a young child, and how special she felt when a blanket was presented to her.
The two sewed 62 blankets for other children in large and small sizes, using different patterns.
To this day, Charlotte still has the blanket she received in the emergency room.
“It’s more of a comfort item,” Rachael said. “The hope is that these will be like little kids’ blankets.”
All of them had had some experience knitting and sewing from scouting and school. Charlotte and Rachael found the blankets took less time than expected.
Bethany ended up putting more hours into her project than the required 50, spending 90 hours knitting and decorating the hats.
Their project entailed documentation, as well, in the planning, funding and execution.
“It’s the highest award a Cadet Scout can earn,” Lynn Gorman said. They will all participate in the Silver Award ceremony June 17, when all five girls in the troop will bridge to Senior Scouts.
Asked if they aspire to someday earn the Gold Award, the highest for a Senior Scout, all said it would be fun.
Whether they will continue in scouting in high school remains to be seen, their troop leader said. The middle school students were currently focused on their final exams. Lynn Gorman formed the troop eight years ago and noted the five members have a combined 36 years of scouting.
“If they decide this is as far as they go, they have a lot to rely on,” she said, referring the knowledge and life skills learned along the way.
“I’m really proud of them. When they first started, they couldn’t say their name in a circle; they were so shy,” Gorman said.