Holy houses, Batman – two Quad Cities girls have earned the Bronze Award, the highest award that Girl Scouts in grades 4-5 can achieve!

Rachael Kelly and Rachel Reeves of Troop 8869 won by building six bat houses for endangered bat populations. Two bat houses were placed at Girl Scouts’ Camp Liberty, two were placed at Nahant Marsh, and two were given to the city of Bettendorf. 

“I discovered that helping animals that are endangered is my passion. I mean, I have always loved animals, but I love to help them more,” Rachael Kelly said recently.

“I discovered that I like helping animals and the community and that I like working with another person on the project way more than doing ones by myself,” Rachel Reeves said. “We decided to do this project because it helps the people in our town and animals as well!”

The girls worked as a team to build the bat houses themselves and learned many new skills throughout the process, such as operating power tools like a miter saw.

Besides building the houses themselves, the girls also created a presentation about the importance of bats to the local ecosystem. They then shared this presentation with local media and through social media.

Rachael (now a 6th grader at Eisenhower in Davenport) and Rachel (now in 5th grade at Mark Twain in Bettendorf) spent many hours researching, emailing, making phone calls, completing a budget, sourcing materials, and building these houses from donated wood and supplies, according to Maura Warner, vice president of marketing for Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

The steps to earning the Bronze Award are rooted in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. To earn a Bronze Award, a troop or Girl Scout must:

• Identify community issues

• Build a team

• Develop a project

• Make a plan

• Complete at least 20 hours of working for the project

Girls identify needs in the community and research ways to meet those needs. Girls at this age especially want to help animals, Warner said Friday. “They looked at what endangered species are in our area and we want them to prioritize what can really affect our community.”

The Girl Scouts Bronze Awards are for Scouts only in grades 4-5, and Silver and Gold Awards recognize projects for older girls in Scouts.

Through the Girl Scout Program, girls learn to face challenges head-on, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, create lasting relationships, and find dynamic solutions to social issues—all while building the skills and courage they need to take the lead every day and empower themselves for life.

To join or volunteer, visit www.GirlScoutsToday.org.