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Girls Scout cadets host community Christmas outreach

SARANAC Seven girls from Saranac/Dannemora/Cadyville Girl Scout Cadet Troop 4111 started off the month of December by giving the gift of their time and creativity to area children. The girls spent time brainstorming, planning, and making preparations last month for a community service activity they titled, Santa . The event was held last Saturday at the Saranac Volunteer Fire Department building. All the decorations and activities were initiated by cadets Sam Aierle, Hannah Racette, Jannell Nickols, Sarah Mihuc, Kaitlyn Poust, Katelyn Atkinson and Caitlin Keysor, who are seventh- through ninth-graders. The night before the Christmas outreach, the ambitious youths decorated the firehouse, and their leaders treated them to a pizza party. When families from the community began to arrive last Saturday afternoon, they walked into a room that spoke Christmas from one end to the other. Teddy bears and snowmen peeked at them from every area of the room. The cadets, who had disguised themselves as either elves or Rudolph, welcomed all the visitors. Santa sat in a chair covered with a cozy throw. On the floor on either side of him was an audience of teddy bears dressed for Christmas. By his left foot, a large basket overflowed with candy canes for the children. One of the leaders snapped and printed pictures of each child as they sat on Santa's knee. Round tables with a white tablecloth and an offset red one were set up around the room. Each had a Christmas centerpiece in the middle a tea light in a glass container the cadets had decorated sat on a Christmas placemat with evergreen sprigs encircling it. Three of the tables had one of Santa's elves or Rudolph waiting to help children enjoy a craft. The children enjoyed making paper advent chains from an array of colored strips attached to a paper Christmas bell. Rudolph explained to them that by removing one chain every night they could keep track of how many days it was until Christmas. Two elves at an adjacent table helped children make snowman stick ornaments from large, white popsicle sticks and containers of a wide selection of decorations to glue on. On yet another table, an elf invited children to choose from a variety of Christmas and winter scenes to color. Several tables remained open for families to sit and visit while they drank hot chocolate and sampled from the large selection of Christmas goodies the cadets had made for them. In the far end of the room, another cozy throw was spread out on the floor where a selection of Christmas books awaited the children. On one wall, a handmade poster of Rudolph without a nose beckoned children to come play "Pin the Nose on Rudolph." Just next to the poster, a red wicker basket was filled with prizes for all participants. One of Santa's elves tied a scarf around each child's eyes and gently turned them several times before they attempted to attach Rudolph's nose. Kitty-corner to the Rudolph game, a long counter served as a face painting station. Children sat motionless as elves painted the Christmas picture they had selected on their cheeks. The Wood family from Saranac was among many who enjoyed the fun filled afternoon provided by the Girl Scouts. Each of the three Wood siblings discussed their favorite part of the event. "I liked the face painting best," declared six-year-old Kaylyn, proudly showing off the snowman she insisted be painted on her arm instead of her face. "The cookies were my favorite," said her sweet-toothed seven-year-old brother, Keagan. "Seeing Santa was the best part," 10-year-old Derek said, no doubt thinking of the wish list he had given him. Shortly after 3 p.m., Santa and the last of the children left, leaving the elves and Rudolph to clean up. They set about the task cheerfully, full of the satisfaction that comes from a job well done and the knowledge they had been a blessing to others.

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