Some rewards go beyond a badge or a blue ribbon. Sometimes, it's about making someone feel loved.
Four local Girl Scouts, all close friends, have found a service project that will garner not only their "silver award" badges but also a sense of satisfaction. They are making quilts this summer for developmentally disabled adults.
Bryn Hartinger, Camille LaMaster, Corinne Sears and Julia Stoneburner, all incoming Gunn High School freshmen, put their heads, hands and hearts together to make six striking works of art that will be distributed at Hope Services in Mountain View this Friday, July 17.
On Tuesday, the four members of Troop 61420 gathered around a table in Hartinger's backyard to put the finishing touches on the last quilt. Bars and blocks of colorful fabric in russet, brown, mustard and beige were fancifully stitched together to form an 80-by-60-inch rectangle fit for a twin bed. It was their biggest quilt yet, they said. The other quilts, also for twin mattresses, come in a dazzling array of geometric patterns in purples, blues, reds, greens, cream, black and gray.
It's been quite an experience, taking 180 hours between them, with a goal of 200 hours, they said.
Sears, with less experience, never realized all that is involved in quilting, she said. But there were lessons for all. Hartinger, LaMaster and Stoneburner have considerable sewing experience, but Hartinger said she also learned more about her community and the often forgotten people who play a valuable role in it.
"I've learned a lot about quilting, but I had never thought about developmentally disabled adults," Hartinger said. Most of the attention and public awareness has focused on children with disabilities, she added.
The idea came out of conversations with LaMaster's mother, who teaches at Hope Services, a nonprofit organization serving persons of all ages with developmental disabilities. The quilt recipients are all women. Four live in the same group home and two others, who are older, live in separate accommodations. None have many possessions, the girls said.
The teens wanted to give the women something that would last a lifetime, and they wanted it to be a constant reminder that people in the community appreciate them.
"Quilts give them a sense of ownership and to know that people care about them," Stoneburner said.
A quilt is also an iconic legacy piece, lasting more than 100 years, Hartinger said.
Hartinger's mother, Amy, said that quilts played a central role in her own family's history.
"In my family, heirloom quilts were treasured and were passed from generation to generation," she said.
The teens hope their project will be part of their troop's legacy. They want to teach quilting to other Scouts so they could adopt it for their service projects, they said.
The girls have raised nearly all of their $500 goal through crowdfunding and emails to local parents. Each teen will put in 50 hours to receive her silver award for community service.
But the most satisfying part is knowing they will be giving a gift to people in the community who are, as Hartinger said, often forgotten.
And when the teens look back years from now, this summer may stand as a time as special as their jewel-colored quilts.