Weatherford Democrat

July 16, 2013

Cleaning out their closet

Girl Scouts focus on 'Clothes Closet' for Gold Project


Weatherford Democrat

By SALLY SEXTON

As long-time Girl Scout representatives, Weatherford’s Shelby Taylor and Bailey Kruse knew they wanted to do something to help the community.

The duo came up with the concept to revamp Weatherford ISD’s Clothes Closet, a resource of gently used clothing and shoes for students within the district.

In May, the two’s efforts were rewarded when they both received the Gold Award, which symbolizes achievement in leadership, community service, career planning and personal development.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Becky Burton, Girl Scouts Texas Oklahoma Plains CEO. “They saw a need in their communities and took action. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership, is making the world a better place.”

The idea first began to take shape when one of the Closet’s organizers contacted Taylor’s mother at their mutual church.

“I’m going to major in fashion merchandising and (Bailey’s) going to be a pediatric nurse,” Taylor said, “so this project had both of our interests involved. She loves helping out kids and I love clothes.”

When the two started work last year, the Clothes Closet was a portable building on the Hall Middle School campus, filled with items donated from the community for those less fortunate.

“It was a mess and they couldn’t control who went in so there were a lot of clothes and bags that got dumped in there,” Kruse said. “It took us pretty much all summer to complete.”

Some of the major tasks included laundering all the items, including a wash and ironing, on top of organizing the clothing and shoes.

“It was pretty chaotic at first. There were clothes wall to wall, trash bags everywhere and not everything was clean,” Taylor said. “But after planning, we came up with an organizing system and went through everything.”

Even after the completion, the girls had another hurdle, as it was announced that the Clothes Closet would change locations after a workroom inside the school had opened up.

“We got it all sorted and then we had to move everything,” Kruse said. “And then once we got inside, we realized we needed to build a changing room because there wasn’t one.”

When everything was said and done, both Taylor and Kruse experienced the feeling of satisfaction and pride.

“It was a lot to do but it was a lot of fun,” Taylor said.

“It definitely taught us more responsibility and we kind of had to push ourselves on this one,” Kruse added. “It was a big relief and major sense of accomplishment, and just the reaction from people who headed the Closet when we finished was amazing.”

To find out more about the WISD Clothes Closet, contact the district at 817-598-2800.