Keeping cancer away through ‘Sun Safety’
BY SAM SLAUGHTER, Staff Writer
Sentinel North Brunswick
SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Even if their new medals are as bright and shiny as the sun, the 15 girls in Girl Scout Junior Troop 80385 of South Brunswick are going to be ready in the presence of the actual sun.
The girls held a “Skin Cancer and Sun Safety” event May 13 at the South Brunswick Community Center as the capstone activity needed to earn their Bronze Award, which is the highest award possible for Juniors and the third-highest award in all of Girl Scouting.
“The project must be something that does the greater good, that benefits people outside of the troop,” troop leader Colleen Albright explained.
This project in particular, Albright said, was first begun nearly a year ago, when the girls hashed out different project ideas.
From there, they undertook research and the other necessary steps for planning the event. They chose a skin cancer theme because May is skin cancer awareness month.
On the night of the event, the 15 girls were divided into four groups, each taking a different skin cancer-related topic, including types of skin cancer, the use and meaning of sun block, other ways to prevent overexposure, and skin cancer and kids.
The Scouts also devised a number of skin cancer-related games in order to help educate the younger attendees, including trivia games based on the displays, sun safety Twister, and sun safety relays, where kids had to don extra clothing as well as hold sunscreen before tagging a partner.
Dr. Janice Mehnert, an oncologist from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey who specializes in melanoma, gave the keynote address to the 50 other Scouts, parents and troop leaders who attended.
“She was outstanding; she really geared her talk to the level of the girls we had,” Albright said.
The girls ranged in age from7 to 12. Troop 80385 is composed mostly of 10- and 11-yearolds, Albright said.
In addition to the sun safety event, the girls also needed to complete other projects and 15 hours of community service to be eligible for the award.
In October 2010, the troop organized and held a campfire in Woodlot Park, which saw around 300 attendees show up.
The troop also helped sponsor the annual Friendship Fair this year. Working in conjunction with another troop, the girls worked to organize the event as well as help run it.
“The girls really had to hone their social skills and how to present information, and also their organizational skills. It was something they really needed to work on, because at 10, it isn’t something that’s really ingrained yet,” Albright said.
On June 17 there will be a presentation of the awards to the girls.