An eagle walks into a shelter to help the animals … No, not that kind of eagle—an Eagle Scout! As a child, Kaitlin preferred veterinarian playsets to Barbie dolls, and she used her toy kitchen and imagination to help feed her animals, so it wasn’t a stretch the compassionate teen chose to do something to benefit animals for her final community-related service project to complete her Eagle requirements.

Kaitlin joined the Girl Scouts and tried Venturing while looking to blend her need for inspiration and action, but neither fulfilled her. When a former math teacher encouraged her to join the Scouts Boy Scouts of America program at 16, Kaitlin saw an opportunity.

In high school, Kaitlin joined the Student to Work Alliance Program (SWAP), which provides opportunities for young adults with mild to moderate disabilities to learn about, practice, improve workplace skills and consider career interests. (Kaitlin has Asperger’s Syndrome, but in no way does she let it define her. Instead, it motivates her to prove people wrong when they think she can’t do something.) It was courtesy SWAP where Kaitlin had the opportunity to work at the Aurora Animal Shelter. “I saw firsthand how hard people at shelters work,” said Kaitlin.

Kaitlin prepared a project proposal to make blankets and toys for cats and dogs at the League, and once the project was approved, she created how-to videos, provided directions to fellow scouts to complete the tasks and assembled kits with supplies to do at home.

Thanks to Kaitlin’s love for helping animals, her final Eagle project yielded 11 felt blankets for dogs that will go into their kennels or with them to their new homes, 100 rope toys and 200 cat toys complete with corks, feathers, pipe cleaners, bells and puff balls to help enrich the stays of cats in our care.

“Kaitlin’s project means a lot to the organization and the animals in our care,” said Lauren Pipis, one of the League’s humane educators. “The fact that she’s so passionate about animals and chose the League to receive the toys and blankets is heartwarming and so very appreciated. The animals in our care rely on our supportive community and us to give them the best we can as we work to find them new families.”

After graduating high school in May, Kaitlin plans to take a gap year before studying to become a veterinary technician and, ultimately, a veterinarian.

We believe cats and dogs at the League couldn’t be happier or cozier, thanks to Kaitlin! And, along with our thanks, we celebrate Kaitlin as the first girl in the Centennial District to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout!