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Local Scout comes to the aid of Brooke’s Legacy

June 3, 2016
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral Girl Scout Kailee Hess has a real love for animals, especially those who haven't found a home.

Which is why she and her Girl Scout troop decided to take up homeless animals as a way to help the community recently, collecting more than 700 pounds of puppy food in one night for several pregnant dogs currently living in a local animal shelter.

This type of devotion is nothing new to those who work with her. Amy McWilliam, assistant leader for Girl Scout Troop 102, said Kailee is no ordinary 12-year-old.

Article Photos

Girl Scout Kailee Hess rallied her troop in an animal food drive for Brooke’s Legacy.


"Kailee is a very unique kid. Most of the Girl Scouts pick out projects to help the community, but it's usually for a badge. Kailee is passionate all the time, even outside Girl Scouts. She just doesn't stop," McWilliam said.

Kailee has always been passionate about animals, but really became involved last year. For her 11th birthday, Kailee invited her friends for her birthday party and requested they bring animal supplies to be donated instead of gifts.

"From then on, she has been really involved volunteering. She's really been taking action on her own," said Carrie Cohan, Kailee's mom. "She's a great kid all-around. She's always willing to help anyone or anything at any given time."

Kailee has been a fervent supporter of Brooke's Legacy, a Naples-based animal rescue organization named for a teen who was killed in 2004. She learned about it in summer camp last year.

Tink Bechtol, founder of the group whose daughter it is named after, said Kailee's contributions are immeasurable, especially for a little-known shelter such as theirs.

"Whatever she sets her mind to, she does it. We don't have a facility or a way to get things like the Humane Society," Bechtol said. "We're very blessed to have this little girl on our team telling people there are other rescues that need help. She's our next generation of volunteers."

When Kailee learned that the shelter was in desperate need of puppy food, she went to work, enlisting the help of her fellow Girl Scouts in Troop 102.

Kailee told them that the rescue had taken in several pregnant dogs who were set to be euthanized, and explained that puppy food is rich in nutrients and is commonly fed to mother dogs so they can produce healthy milk to nurse their pups.

The girls agreed that this would be a perfect opportunity to help and serve their community, which came up huge as it usually does. In one night, the troop collected more than 700 pounds of puppy food.

The event was called "Donate for Donuts," where all levels of scouts - Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, etc. - competed to raise the most food to win a donut party.

"It was very competitive and she spearheaded that. Even though everyone worked on it, she was the one who organized it and got the food to Brooke's Legacy," McWilliam said. "We now have a group of girls who are aware of what's going on with the homeless animal population and what they can do to help.

This wasn't the first time Kailee spearheaded an animal-related cause for Girl Scouts. She taught them how to make homemade dog treats, which were sold through a local groomer to raise money for Brooke's Legacy. Her troop has also participated in other fundraisers to purchase much-needed supplies for the rescue.

Outside Girls Scouts, Kailee put together a car wash and invited her friends, including Girl Scouts to help, has collected 250 pairs of shoes to benefit Brooke's Legacy and has gone to volunteer at PetSmart and Pet Supermarket whenever an adoption event i s held.

To learn more about program and volunteer opportunities with Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, visit or call 800-232-4475.



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