Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Nativity project represents Girl Scouts' hard work

by LISA SHADE Special to the Gazette on December 26, 2013 10:59 AM

Would you spend $4 to help make the world a better place? When you buy a box of Girl Scout cookies, you help girls gain confidence, learn important skills and give them resources to make a difference in their community.

While many can name their favorite Girl Scout cookies, few are aware of the local projects, both big and small, that cookies make possible.

Girl Scouts from Marion Center recently brightened the holiday season for a local church, with each girl earning her Bronze Award — the highest award Girl Scouts in grades 4 and 5 can earn.

“The girls wanted to remind people of the ‘reason for the season’ of Christmas,” said Monica DeHaven, the girls’ troop leader. To focus on the story of the birth of Jesus, the Girl Scouts began a project to build a Nativity scene for Grove Chapel Lutheran Church in Indiana.

The girls selected the type of Nativity they wanted to build by reviewing plans and pictures online. DeHaven and her husband cut out the large wood pieces, but the girls sanded and painted the scene themselves, and sealed them with several coats of polyurethane.

It was a long process, but the girls had fun along the way. “They painted the pieces, and a few other things around the yard,” said DeHaven. “I still have a rock outside that says ‘Girl Scouts rock!’” she added.

The church accepted the Girl Scouts’ gift at a dedication in July. “We had a Christmas in July event to bless the Nativity,” said Dave Wasemann, pastor of Grove Chapel Lutheran Church.

The Scouts made Christmas cookies for the event and created a display that detailed the process of building the Nativity.

The Nativity was put on display on a frigid day earlier this month. “I thought we’d have two frozen snowmen added to the scene by the time it was set up,” Wasemann said, referring to the two men who installed the Nativity in near-zero temperatures.

Now members of the church and drivers on Route 119 can enjoy the display.

Wasemann said he is pleased with the Nativity. “We’re like a Thomas Kinkade postcard,” Wasemann said, referring to his picturesque church that’s been a part of Indiana since the 1800s. “Everyone that drives on Route 119 will enjoy it.”

Wasemann said he sees benefits of this project beyond the Nativity display on the church lawn. “Formation of character is extremely important,” he said, noting that this was a leadership experience for Girl Scouts.

“Anything that supports kids’ character development makes me a happy camper.”

Lisa Shade is the public relations manager for the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania.

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