FISHERS — Girl Scout Cadettes from Troop 1937 are working with their local senator to pass a bill that would allow foster kids and their families to visit Indiana state parks for free.
Part of the Girl Scout Promise is to help people at all times, and the Cadettes want to be able to help foster kids and their families permanently.
"He was very open to the idea and asked if he could tag this to his bill, " Sophie Holladay a Girl Scout Cadette with Troop 1937 working to pass legislation.
Holladay, along with the other Cadettes, are working on their Silver Award. The trio met with their senator Kyle Walker to discuss their idea and he added it to Senate Bill 151. The girls got the idea when they were volunteering for the nonprofit Turn Away No Longer.
"All of us have been touched by the lives of foster kids and I feel like it was already something that we knew was a big issue," Cadette Grace Link said.
So, the girls got to work. They surveyed foster parents and asked them how often they would attend state parks if admission was free. Their research showed that over 80 percent would take their families if the cost barrier was gone. Also, through their research they found that getting kids active is a way to cope with past traumas.
"The first way to deal with trauma is play so we thought state parks were a great way to get the children to socialize,” Link said. The problem is they can get very overwhelmed. So for the parents to spend a bunch of money for the kids to go there for 30 minutes to an hour it just wasn't worth it to them."
Throughout this process, the girls have also learned about the legislature and how a bill becomes a law. That knowledge alone is something their troop leader feel is important to their growth.
"They are going to testify in front of the committee so that's democracy in action,” Cynthia Holladay the Troop Leader for Troop 1937 said. “I think that's really important to get the youth involved in at an early whether they decide to have a career in the legislature or whether they decide to be active citizens I think that's important for them to understand. “
As for the girls, they hope they can inspire other scouts to pursue something that can make a big change.
"We can show girls our age and even younger that they can do it as well,” Cadette Makenna Kenworthy. “Also show the world we are not just cookies we can change the world.”
The girls are set to testify on the bill during the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday. Once the girls have completed their 50 hours of service for this project, each of them will receive the Silver Award, the highest achievement a girl scout can earn.