A "buddy bench" was placed on the school playground (parking lot), of St. George Parish on Monday, Oct. 5, following a presentation to Zach Stobart, Principal of St. George Catholic School. The bench will be there for years to come -- serving students, and parishioners from the local school and parish. Girl Scouts of Troop 2820 participated in the Bronze Award that involved creating the bench.

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From left to right, Emma Manning, Kris Penning, April Langan, Faith Engemann, Morgan Penning, Victoria VanBooven.

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Victoria Van Booven works on the bench with leader, Kris Penning.

Hermann, MO 10/4/2020–The Juniors of Girl Scout Troop 2820 of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Council have been a part of St. George School and Parish since Kindergarten.  These girls have worked their way up from Daisies to Brownies and now Juniors as they are currently in 4th or 5th Grade.  Last year, prior to COVID, the girls were planning their community service project to earn their Bronze Award.  In the pre -planning stages while working in their Journey, they all came to a consensus that they wanted to help kids in their school and in the community.  They said that although they don’t see Bullying in their class, they do think that it is sometimes to tough to get along with others in general.  The girls agreed that in school, the toughest spot to be, is on the playground.  They indicated that at St. George when the kids are on the parking lot, there aren’t a lot of activities and you either play kickball or play with your friends.  If you don’t like one of those two things, they could see that a child might feel left out.  The girls indicated that it is tough to know when someone needs a friend because on the playground there is a lot of hustle and bustle, so they wanted a place where kids could indicate that they needed a friend. 

In other schools and communities, they have started a project called the “Buddy Bench.” The girls did some research and realized that they could build the bench.  They used money from their cookie proceeds and then visited Hermann Lumber to shop for supplies.  They drew designs and came up with a plan.  Adam Penning, Father of Morgan Penning, one of the young ladies in the troop offered to get the girls started and help them with their design.  He recommended metal and offered his suggestions.  The girls ended of purchasing composite material and recently they completed assembly of the bench.   

The concept of the Buddy Bench is simple: any child sitting on a Buddy Bench indicates to his or her peers that he/she would like company. Whether the kiddo is feeling overwhelmed, shy or just having an off day, sitting on the bench means he or she would like someone to talk to or play with.

The girls have decided to move on and did not continue as a Girl Scout Troop this year.  They are all really busy with other activities and sports, but they wanted to come back together and complete this project so that they could finish their Bronze Award that they began last year prior to COVID.  The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve. As the girls work together to complete their Take Action project, they develop more confidence, meet new people, and have the kind of fun that happens when you work on a community service project to make a difference. To earn the Bronze Award, girls must: 1. Go on a Girl Scout Junior Journey. 2. Build your Girl Scout Junior team. 3. Explore your community. 4. Choose your Girl Scout Bronze Award project. 5. Make a plan. 6. Put your plan in motion. and Spread the word.

The bench will be placed on the school playground (parking lot) of St. George Parish on Monday October 5th with a presentation to Mr. Zach Stobart, Principal of St. George Catholic School.  It will be there for years to come serving students, and parishioners from the local school and parish.  The Girl Scouts of Troop 2820 that participated in the Bronze Award are Morgan Penning, Victoria VanBooven, Emma Manning, April Langan and Faith Engemann.  The Troop Leaders were Kris Penning and Kate Engemann. 

For more information, call Kate Engemann at 573-619-5832 or email for more information.