Dehne has earned Girl Scout Gold

Caitlin Dehne

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce that Caitlin Dehne from Red Bud has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award— the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she collaborated with the Creative Children’s Learning Center to add a children’s reading corner.

“I came up with this project because I love to read and wanted to inspire people to read as well,” she said. “I thought we could start the spark of reading in younger children. Even with computers, reading and writing is crucial to be able to learn in school, to apply for jobs, and to communicate with other people.”

First, Dehne held a book drive and collected more than 900 books from the community, which she cataloged using a spreadsheet and then color coded to make it easy to sort by reading level. Next, she built a bookshelf to hold the new collection, which was installed in the Creative Children’s Learning Center. To make the room cozier, she enlisted friends to help sew pillows for the reading area, which, once they were stuffed, she hand sewed shut. Last, when the new nook was complete, she held story sessions with the children, who ranged between 3-5 years old.

“We ended up having long conversations after reading because the children wanted to talk about their life and how it related to the book,” she said. “It was very rewarding to see their excitement and that they were so into the books that I read.”

For more on Dehne, please see this week’s print edition.