BETHLEHEM After moving to Delmar from New York City last year, Amelia Dombrowski wanted to send her mother a gift that lasted.
A costume designer who began offering sewing, craft and fashion classes to children last spring, Dombrowski got the idea to make flowers out of fabric and send them to her mom.
“I was someone who lived far away from my grandparents, and my kids live far away from their grandparents,” said Dombrowski. “I wanted to find a way for kids to be able to interact with older people in a meaningful way.”
Dombrowski said her mother had often worked in nursing homes and suggested having kids, possibly from her classes, make the flowers to give to local seniors. A friend then connected Dombrowski with Julie Levin, leader of Bethlehem Girl Scout Troop 1209.
With the holiday season approaching, Levin decided to hold an event for her own Girl Scout troop where Dombrowski would teach the girls how to make the flowers. The girls would then deliver them to local senior organizations in person.
Soon, word spread about the event and more Bethlehem Girl Scout troops wanted to join in. Eventually, girls from nearly all 50 troops within the Bethlehem Girl Scout community wanted to participate.
“It’s one of the first times we’ve all got together,” said Heather Rutski, leader of Troop 1936 and Bethlehem Girl Scout Community chairwoman. “We use to be three separate communities that never interacted with each other.
Because there was such a large interest in the event, Levin decided to include other activities. While the older girls were taught how to make the fabric flowers by stitching together pieces of felt, others made holiday cards to send to soldiers stationed overseas through the American Red Cross’ Mail for Heroes campaign.
As “admission” to the event, girls were asked to collect old children’s clothes from members of their family. All of the clothes were then donated to Mary’s Corner, an organization through Ladies of Charity of the Diocese of Albany, which provides food, clothing and toys for infants and toddlers.
“Helping other people is the Girl Scout way,” said Levin. “This is event being so large, I never could have imagined. I didn’t think on a Saturday we would get so lucky.”
There are nearly 200 Girl Scouts within Bethlehem’s 50 troops. More than 100 girls participated in the event, and Levin said she hopes more activities will be planned for all Girl Scouts townwide.
The girls plan to deliver the homemade flowers throughout December.