Education

This Girl Scout helps others battle the threat of eating disorders

Student of the week Olivia Futrell

Olivia Futrell was on a team of girl scouts last year who earned their silver award with a project against eating disorders. Olivia is a freshman at Belleville East High School.
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Olivia Futrell was on a team of girl scouts last year who earned their silver award with a project against eating disorders. Olivia is a freshman at Belleville East High School.

The hardest part of pursuing the Girl Scout Silver Award was coming up with the project idea in the first place, says Olivia Futrell, who is now a freshman at Belleville East High School and enjoys playing lacrosse.

She and three other Girl Scouts — Kennedy Elbe, Katelynn Allen, Megan Gebke — with the troop organized at Whiteside Elementary School in Belleville, came up with something “that impacted all of us equally.”

Their project educated other girls, specifically Daisies and Brownies, who are Girl Scouts in elementary school, about eating disorders.

Troop leader Lisa Elbe said the girls thought a project against eating disorders would have a long-lasting impact on people, which is the point of the Silver Award.

“There were some other things they considered, maybe doing some birdhouses at nursing homes, maybe doing a buddy bench,” Lisa said. “But whenever we were talking about the story and Something for Kelly mission and it was targeted to girls their age, it hit home for them.”

Q: Why eating disorders?

A: “I do know people that have (had) eating disorders. That’s why it really struck home. And we all had different people that we knew,” who suffer from eating disorders.

Q: How did you accomplish the Silver Award?

A: “We raised awareness for eating disorders for young children with Something for Kelly and raised some money. Not a lot of money, because we’re in middle school. ... It was about $150 by selling bracelets and suckers.”

Q: What did you teach the girls?

A: “We taught them good eating habits. Nothing too heavy because it’s not appropriate for their age. ... and how to talk to someone.”

The Silver Award winners also provided a healthy snack of peanut butter and apples.

Q: What’s great about Girl Scouts?

A: “I do like camping. At Butterfly (campground) there’s Eagle’s Nest Cabins but they’re open on the sides and you can feel the breeze. As long as it’s not a million degrees outside.”

Q: Will you pursue the Gold Award?

A: “I do plan on doing the Gold Award, but not sure (on what) yet. It’s a whole new thing; it has to be a self-sustaining project. (So does the Silver Award; the girls made a video.)”

Q: Why did you take up lacrosse?

A: “In the spring of seventh grade I didn’t play anything — I’m not athletic at all — and my stepdad said to just try it. (The league gave all players equal playing time.) I didn’t want to at first, but mom encouraged me, too.”

Meet Olivia Futrell

  • Age: 14
  • School: Freshman at Belleville East
  • Favorite food: “Oh, man. There’s a lot of food out there. Pizza.”
  • Favorite band: “I can’t answer that question. I like all music.” All music? “I don’t like folk. Bob Dylan is the only artist I don’t like. He’s off beat; it makes me mad.”
  • Favorite class: Geometry
  • Least favorite class: English
  • Family: Lives with Sophia, 2, Mary, 4, and Sarah and Nathan Rice
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