Visitors to Wylie’s In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center will have a new and improved booth where they can find much-needed information thanks to the efforts of three local Girl Scouts.
Girl Scouts from Troop 6541, Kaitlyn Hodges, 14, Katie Jacobs,15, and Savannah Page, 14, recently completed their Girl Scout Silver Award project at the sanctuary.
The Silver Award is the highest award a Cadette Girl Scout in the sixth, seventh or eighth grades can earn.
The teens chose the nonprofit dedicated to the rescue of neglected, abused, and unwanted exotic felines, said Kaitlyn, because “we wanted to support a local rescue organization that would impact the local community and help In-Sync.”
Katie said when they reached out to the nonprofit, “staff was very helpful and open to our ideas.”
Laura Czekala, Director of Education at In-Sync, helped the girls select a project. In their case, they chose the information booth which needed repairs and an upgrade.
“They did suggest the information booth,” Katie said, “but we came up with how we would preserve it.”
Aside from the many requirements to earn a Silver Award, the Girl Scouts had to plan, fundraise and complete the project.
Overall, “it was a big project and undertaking,” Kaitlyn said,
According to the teens, their initial budget was $800 but Kaitlyn said they ended up spending $1,000 on the project.
“We did the fundraising to cover the majority of the expenses but some of our items were donated directly to us,” she added.
Katie said there were certainly some challenges with the whole process, and fundraising was one of them, “because the first way we tried didn’t work very well.”
Savanah said they turned to family, friends and Facebook posts to raise money.
The project entailed manual labor, replacing glass cases and fencing, staining the structure, incorporating homemade concrete paw print stepping stones and prepping an old tiger sign for new paint, in the summer heat.
“I didn’t realize how hard it would be to make the concrete paws, power wash the structure and stain it, clean up the area and put up a fence,” Kaitlyn said. “I’ve never done these things before.”
Power washing, on the other hand, turned out to be something Savannah said she really enjoyed, although repainting the tiger sign was special to her because she got to give it her own “artistic touch.”
FastSigns Garland supported the effort with a finishing touch — installing a new overhead sign with the In-Sync name and logo.
“We are grateful to the Girl Scouts for choosing this project, which helps us provide our visitors and supporters a unique space to share their In-Sync experience with family and friends,” Czelka said.