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Teenager is on bear hunt

September 10, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Caytie Smith is on a bear hunt.

And the 13-year-old cadette Girl Scout isn't looking to bag just one big one - she's after a whole bunch of little ones, all named Teddy.

"I'm collecting teddy bears to put in police cars for children to have if they are in an accident," Caytie said.

Already, the St. James School ninth-grader has collected several teddy bears from friends and neighbors. But she wants more.

"I called the Valley Mall and arranged to have a booth in their Community Days, Sept. 19-20," Caytie said. "People can drop by and bring new or used bears, big and small bears."

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The project was the brainchild of Caytie and her mom, Valerie Smith. It seemed like a natural since Caytie has always been a teddy bear collector.

Then they heard something on the news about someone doing a similar project and Caytie decided to lend her help.

This project must take at least 40 hours of Caytie's time, and that doesn't seem to be a problem because she is working very hard.

"Before I could even begin the project, I had to complete three unrelated merit badges, which I have now done," Caytie said.

She did all that work with the Penn Laurel Girl Scout Council, Troop 952, in Pennsylvania, where she used to live.

When she and her family moved to Hagerstown last January, Caytie got special permission from the Shawnee Council to continue her project here.

All together, this has taken up a big chunk of three years for Caytie, but she said she really enjoys her Girl Scouting projects.

When all is said and done, Caytie will have earned her silver award, a high honor in Girl Scouting.

While waiting for her days at the Valley Mall booth to arrive, Caytie is exploring other angles for increasing her "herd" of bears.

"I called several department stores in the area and told them what I was doing," Caytie said.

When she has finished her bear hunting, Caytie plans to turn over all the bears to the Hagerstown City Police - enough so several can ride along in every cruiser.

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