By Travis Mounts
CHENEY – A local Girl Scout has officially earned her Gold Award, the highest honor one can achieve in Girl Scouts.
The award was officially presented to Kylie Fletcher on Jan. 14. Also in January, Fletcher presented five “bags to mats” to First Call for Help, a Hutchinson-based charity. These sleeping mats are created for homeless people without access to shelter. Each mat is made from about 1,200 to 1,500 plastic grocery bags. They are waterproof, easy to haul, and provide some protection from concrete and other cold surfaces.
Fletcher said the director of the charity was “super stoked” about receiving the mats. Sadly, there were about three people who soon were going to move out of a hotel and likely be without shelter.
Fletcher had until September of this year to finish her Gold Award project, so she was able to complete it well ahead of schedule.
Dwindling numbers of Girls Scouts in town and the pandemic mean she didn’t get to enjoy any kind of ceremony, but that hasn’t dampened Fletcher’s enthusiasm over achieving Scouting’s highest honor.
“It feels pretty good. As far as I know, I’m the only Girl Scout in Cheney,” she said. She believes she’s one of only a few Cheney youth to have achieved the Gold Award.
Fletcher, who has been in Girl Scouts since she was a kindergartener, was featured in TSnews last August. At the time, she was looking for donations of grocery bags to complete her project.
To create mats, the bags are flattened, cut into strips and strung together into “plarn” – plastic yarn. The plarn is then crocheted into mats. Fletcher’s mats were 3 feet by 6 feet in size. It’s a good use for bags, too. Plastic bags often end up in landfills or oceans. That has led a number of cities and states to ban them. While plastic shopping bags are recyclable, most refuse companies do not accept them.