Submitted by Jessie Woldt
After many months of planning Seymour Girl Scout Cadettes of Troop 2082 finally got to see their hard work come to fruition as the first annual Paws for a Cause K9 Walk/Run event got underway on Friday evening, June 9th. Arianna Stevens, 13, of Oneida and Trinity Inman and Olivia Swenson, both aged 13 of Seymour, have spent well over 200 hours collectively planning, organizing and executing their vision for this 5K run and 2 mile walk held in Seymour. This event was initially conceived by Inman, Stevens and Swenson as a way to earn their Girl Scout Silver Award, but it became much more than that. Their goal was to host a fun and exciting event that would bring the community together and at the same time raise money for the Seymour Police Department’s future K9 Unit. With a total of 147 runners and walkers and 67 dogs participating, they did just that. They were able to raise over $1,200, which was well beyond their initial expectations.
“We were hoping to get 90-100 registrants,” said Tracy Inman, Troop 2082 Leader, “and I’m just so very proud of the girls and what they were able to accomplish.”
Most of the participants were out to support their local community, but registrations came in from as far away as Illinois, Florida and New York.
One long time Seymour resident was able to check this day off her bucket list.
“I wanted to do a 5K for the first time in my life,” said Barbra Rettmann who completed her task just two days prior to her 66th birthday.
Rettmann has had both of her knees replaced and recently lost 87 pounds. She has been getting ready for this race since January trying to get her time down to under one hour. She enjoys doing things that keep her active and considered this a great day to do something she’s been wanting to do for a long time, while still being able to support a good cause. Her favorite part of the day was the interaction with all of the dogs and the people both young and old who attended.
“The crowds were cheering me and giving me high fives and everything and…that made me feel good,” said Rettmann.
She even went home with a blanket from the prize drawing and a 1st place medal in her division finishing at 54 minutes and 57 seconds. Says Rettmann, “It was [supposed to be] a one time thing but depending upon how I feel next year I might do it again.”
Over 40 volunteers were gathered to help out with the event and Seymour Police Chief Richard Buntrock took notice.
“It’s always a team endeavor, not one person can put something like this together,” said Buntrock whose entire staff of officers, including himself, volunteered their time for the day.
“Sergeant [Isaac] Schultz really worked hard mentoring the Cadettes and providing the logistical support for the run/walk on this initiative with the girls,” said Buntrock. “What was amazing to me was how excited the kids were and their involvement and I think that was the most important thing in this whole process. That they have this opportunity to learn how to be leaders and to learn how to apply those skills.”
Chief Buntrock is an avid scouting supporter and recognizes the amount of work and effort it took by both his staff and Girl Scout Troop 2082 to put on an event of this large of scale.
“In modern policing we communicate with people,” Buntrock said. “Fostering that communication and developing those relationships is what we strive for. The results of that interaction benefits the community as a whole and in return the community helps back.”
According to Jennifer Ruege, who works for the Appleton Region of the Northwestern Great Lakes Council, the Silver Award is no small task. The girls who choose to engage in this project must be highly self-motivated and be willing to put in a lot of work.
“I was amazed with the girls in how they enlisted other troops to help, got donations and they really went above and beyond,” Ruege said. “They took charge which I think was amazing and fantastic.”
As part of their final duties before officially submitting the paperwork for their award to Ruege, the girls will be sitting down with their Troop leaders, Sergeant Schultz and their project mentor Vivian Treml of Seymour, to review the race. They’ll determine what went well and what they can improve upon for next time. As girl scouts part of their job is to help make the world a better place and their hope is to see this event endure over the years, getting bigger and better each time around.