Since it’s creation back in 1912, as part of their commitment to service, USA Girl Scouts have been encouraged to look for issues and needs in their community and then create long-term solutions to address those needs. Paris Cadette Troop 35 did just that when they decided to teach kids in and around Paris the Heimlich Maneuver following one troop members’ very close call during a choking-related incident.
The Troop realized that, while fairly popular in the U.S., the life-saving technique known as The Heimlich Maneuver isn’t well-known in France, and especially not to kids.
“Kids don’t know what to do if they see someone choking,” said Troop 35 member Vicky F., ” All they would do is panic or maybe call the ambulance. So we want to help them”.
While researching their project, the girls (Lily P., Emily C., Vicky F., and Simone G.) learned that it only takes 4 minutes without air for brain damage to occur during choking, and that one child dies every 5 days from choking on food. Fueled by those statistics, the Troop connected with Heimlich Heroes, a U.S.-based agency that provides Heimlich Maneuver training materials to youth groups.
Calling themselves “The Paris Heimlich Project”, over the next year Cadette Troop 35 not only raised money to finance the training materials (which they will donate to USA Girl Scouts in Paris to aid future Scout troops), they created a PSA video, interviewed medical experts, designed a website, produced pamphlets in both French and English, were interviewed on a Global kids radio program, and held Heimlich workshops in several locations around Paris and its suburbs.
With a combined total of over 200 hours of work, their efforts earned the troop the Girl Scout Silver Award- the highest award a USA Girl Scout Cadette can achieve. The award represents a girl’s accomplishments in Girl Scouting and her community as she grows and works to improve her life and the lives of others. By earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, the girls of Paris Troop 35 have become community leaders. Their accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set them apart.