Lyla MacKrell, from left, Katelyn Preus and Natalie Zesinger have received the Silver Award in Girls Scouts for her work at A New Leash on Life. They are standing by the cat towers that they made. CONTRIBUTED

MacKrell and Zesinger reach Silver Award in Girl Scouts

MADISON – Achieving Girl Scouts’ Silver Award, Lyla MacKrell and Natalie Zesinger decided to support a service organization in their community.

They chose to help A New Leash on Life, an animal rescue center that is opening a site in Madison. With their appreciation of animals, the girls built towers for cats’ relaxation and play.

“I love A New Leash on life, and I love animals and hope this project provides the cats some wonderful living space while waiting for their forever home,” MacKrell said. Zesinger was happy to assist with the opening.

MacKrell and Zesinger appreciate support from several sources:

* Lowe’s of Madison and Assistant Manager Jill for generous donation of supplies.

* Maker Space staff, specifically Lucretia and Amber, at Madison Public Library for use of sewing machines and materials.

* Zesinger’s grandmother, Janet Smith, for sewing mentorship.

* A generous anonymous donor.

The girls are members of Girl Scout Troop 708. Beth Crocker is Troop Leader.

Planning their project, the Scouts completed online research, designed the towers on paper and then saved the design digitally. They wrote letters to local businesses to request donations of supplies, and Lowe’s of Madison agreed to donate any supplies possible.

“We needed PVC piping and joints, fabric and sewing supplies,” MacKrell said. “We worked on measurements for both the structure and fabric. We had to cut the materials and work to put it together. Cutting, preparation and sewing was much more complicated than I expected.”

Their favorite phase of research was visiting Cattyshack at Lowe Mill. For an hour, the girls played with the cats and determined the toys and equipment that the cats liked.

“This project will provide enrichment and comfort to the cat rooms at A New Leash on Life,” MacKrell said. The towers can be disassembled easily for washing or moving.

Their project partner, Katelyn Preus, is a freshman at Bob Jones High School, where she is a member of Bob Jones Basketball Cheer Team. (See accompanying article.)

MacKrell is in eighth grade at Discovery Middle School. She received the 2022 President’s Volunteer Service Award, Gold Level. She is involved with Student2Student, National Junior Honor Society, International Thespian Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Her parents are Ryan and Heather MacKrell.

Zesinger, an eighth-grader at Liberty Middle School, participates with the yearbook staff, theatre productions and Student2Student work. She plays soccer with AYSO. She plans to achieve the Gold Award with Girl Scouts while she is in high school. Her parents are Mark and Janell Zesinger.

Away from Scouting, Zesinger said she “loves theater, traveling and spending time with my friends.” MacKrell is a member Madison Swimming Association, Madison Dolphins and North Alabama Soccer Coalition. MacKrell is involved with church, loves traveling and ‘hanging out’ with friends.

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