Auxiliary partners with Girl Scouts

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Article by Auxiliarist Judi Bidwick (Flotilla 86, Venice, Florida)

Ever wonder how you could get some of the things you really need for your Coast Guard Auxiliary unit?  This is the story of the Auxiliary and local Girl Scouts partnering to support a community service project and ending up receiving so much more.

When I received a call from Monique Ring, of the Girl Scout Council of Southwest Florida, asking if I would work with Brittany, her daughter, on her Gold Award, I was puzzled. What does that have to do with the Coast Guard Auxiliary?

The Gold Award in Girl Scouts is comparable to the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project in Boy Scouts—to plan and implement an individual “Take Action” project that reaches beyond the Girl Scout organization and provides a sustainable, lasting benefit to the larger community.  Brittany wanted a community project that would continue long after her efforts completed the tasks she set for herself.  The Coast Guard Auxiliary seemed to be an organization that could use her services.

Girl Scout Brittany Ring and Auxiliarist Judi Bidwick presenting the $22,000.00 project of donations to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Photo by Auxiliarist Al Bidwick


We worked with our Emergency Medical Services Trainer, Arthur Sperling, to design an emergency kit for each of our operational facilities.  We decided that she would design a series of tasks that related to our Emergency Health Services Plan.   Brittany wrote letters, made phone calls and designed flyers to share with her family, friends, summer coworkers and community business partners to build an awareness of the needs of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary unit.

“As part of my Gold Award for Girl Scouts, I wanted to help support the volunteers of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary by building 15 First Aid waterproof kits including trauma backboards for them to use during their coastal waterway emergencies missions.”  said Brittany Ring.

Monique Ring, Brittany Ring, Judi Bidwick packing water proof first aid boxes. Photo by Auxiliarist Al Bidwick

In addition to procuring items for our boats Brittany decided to prepare 500 DVDs that outline the services the Auxiliary offers the greater Sarasota-Venice community on the water, at the docks and marinas, and in the classroom. This effort to educate the local community would be an effort to show how the Auxiliary, helps to educate boaters, rescue boaters in trouble, perform vessel safety checks, administer the clean marina program, and provide an ongoing member training program for Auxiliary members. It also would educate viewers to the importance of getting involved as a volunteer in the Auxiliary.

Brittany spent the next two and a half years working with community organizations to secure donations to stock our emergency kits. As her mentor, I continued to guide her efforts toward a reasonable accumulation of items that would be used by our boat crews while on patrol, training, or on rescue missions.

On Tuesday, November 1, the Auxiliary received 15 waterproof emergency kits and 15 trauma backboards.  An award was presented to Brittany from the Auxiliary in front of the Girl Scout Council, Auxiliary members, and some of those who assisted with her donations.  In addition, Auxiliarists Braxton Ezell and Paulette Parent, presented Brittany with a Letter of Commendation for her effort and hours of service toward designing this project, accruing the donations and delivering the life saving equipment to the Auxiliary.

“As part of my Gold Award for Girl Scouts, I wanted to help support the volunteers of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary by building 15 First Aid waterproof kits including trauma backboards for them to use during their coastal waterway emergencies missions”, Brittany Ring said proudly. Photo by Auxiliarist Judi Bidwick.


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  1. Barbara Burchfield says:

    Many thanks to Brittany and all those wonderful mentors who guided here way. Leadership, compassion and guidance is everywhere in this story.

  2. John Rogers says:

    What a neat young lady! Bravo Zuly to Brittany for pitching in and working for two and a half years to assist the Auxiliary!!!!

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