Alexis Berge of Ham Lake said her family knows people who have been in traffic accidents while texting, so she and two other Girl Scouts raised money for anti-texting while driving street signs near Blaine High School.
“I’m very proud of the girls. They went above and beyond. They’re an amazing group of girls,” said Troop 12714 Leader Lauri Anderson of Blaine, whose daughter Lindsey was part of the project. Jordan Anderson of Blaine, not related, was also part of the three-member team working on their Girl Scout Silver Award.
Alexis, Jordan and Lindsey are eighth grade students at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine, so they are a couple of years from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Nevertheless, they understand the seriousness of this issue. The Anoka County Highway Department shared with them that about 30 percent of crashes in Anoka County can be attributed to distracted driving.
The three Girl Scouts did their own informal survey by watching drivers at the intersection of Highway 65 and Highway 10. While they were out there, they saw approximately 36 percent of drivers on their cell phones.
To make a difference, they developed the Save Texting 4 Later project. They sent pledge forms to every middle school in the Anoka-Hennepin School District and hundreds signed to promise that they would not text when they start driving.
They also developed a wrist band that gives a visual reminder not to text while driving. Anoka County Engineer Doug Fischer shared with the Anoka County Board during a presentation on the project that he wraps the wrist band around his phone.
The girls started raising money last July, according to Alexis, and raised $144.
This offset some of the county highway department’s costs to install four signs by Blaine High School. County public works employees placed the posts in the ground, but the girls got to help bolt the signs in Jan. 30.
They also met with Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan to discuss the possibility of signage near the Highway 10 and Highway 65 intersection. They are still working on this aspect of the project though and nothing has been finalized.
They will officially receive the Silver Award from the Girl Scouts May 5. It is the second-highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Girl Scout.
In a little over six months, Alexis, Jordan and Lindsey will be freshmen at Blaine High School and will see their work first-hand every day.
“It was pretty amazing,” Lindsey said. “We’re just in the eighth grade, so to put up signs we can now see that could potentially save lives, it was a cool experience.”
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org