Bedford Scouts earn Silver Award for building 10 benches for ARLNH animal shelter

Bedford’s Sydney Richardson and Danielle Lucey, Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 21981, presented 10 new, handcrafted benches they had made to the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire on May 7.

The pair undertook the project to complete their Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. They began the project in October. Each girl logged more than 50 hours to accomplish of the task.

Sydney, 13, a home-schooled seventh-grader, and Danielle, 12, a seventh-grade student at Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, have been active with Girl Scouts since the beginning of elementary school. Their love of animals led to their decision to contact the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, headquartered at 545 Route 101, Bedford.

They offered to help, and discovered that the facility’s old, creaking benches needed to be replaced. The granting of the Silver Award followed the benches’ installation.

Rich Chaberek, owner of Chaberek General Contracting LLC, is a carpenter whose wife, Maureen, helped establish the troop years ago. He offered to help.

“They approached me with a mission,” Chaberek said. “I designed the benches so we could do the project in stages. The girls put a lot of hard work into each bench, cutting and sanding and staining. It was a good idea to do something like that for the shelter. A new set of benches was long overdue.”

Lowe’s in Bedford donated the lumber, screws and other materials needed for the project. That help was arranged by Justin Naples, Lowe’s human resources manager. All involved agreed the Scouts learned a great deal about skills relating to measuring, cutting, fastening and the staining and polyurethaning of each bench.

The presentation of the benches was made on May 7 at a dedication held at the ARLNH, and was attended by many guests. Laurie Galletta, director of volunteer services at the ARLNH, was the girls’ project advisor. Others witnessing the dedication of the benches included Paula Mattis, ARLNH president and CEO, Eve Scarcello, communications coordinator, Susan Scarcello, an ARLNH volunteer, Mary Ellen Hettinger, public relations manager for the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, and Wendy Richardson and Anne Lucey, Troop 21981 leaders and the girls’ mothers.

The Girl Scout Silver Award shows proof that the recipient is a leader whose assets include a finely tuned sense of organization, a high level of determination and a dedication to community service. A project geared toward securing the award requires a minimum of 50 hours spent in choosing an issue upon which to focus, investigating the components that would lead to success, generating feedback from experts, taking action to complete the project and along the way helping to educate and inspire others in the community. All agreed that the young ladies excelled at the accomplishment.

A detailed report about the project from Danielle revealed that there were obstacles along the way. She said the layer of polyurethane applied to the tops and sides of some of the benches was not well distributed.

“When we discovered this, we just did an extra coat to even it out,” Danielle said. “Another challenge we encountered was that one of the screws had gone into the wood at a bad angle and it needed to be removed. We were able to overcome this obstacle by removing it and replacing it at the correct angle.”

Sydney commented in her final report that they decided to help the ARLNH because of the good work the organization does for the community. She said there are millions of dogs and cats in shelters throughout the United States.

“Even though we only made benches for one shelter, there are over 6-8 million dogs and cats in shelters in the southern half of the country,” Sydney said. “Many of the shelters in the South regularly send animals up to shelters here in New England, and so we’re hoping more pets nationally get adopted by offering sturdy benches for people to sit on while they visit an animal, they might adopt.”

For more information about the project that benefitted the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, call the ARLNH at 472-3647 or visit

For more information about the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, visit