Spiky thin legs support flaming pink bodies. When they flock to a Reading lawn, they draw attention, often smiles.
The eight girls in Cadette Girl Scout Troop 71290 are “flocking” to raise money to attend the 100th year celebration of girl scouting in Washington, DC -- with plastic flamingos.
Attending the celebration with some 200,000 other girl scouts from the United States and England and Scotland would be a “once in a lifetime” experience, according to troop co-leader Ellen Penafiel. The cost would be about $450 per girl.
So the girls came up with a couple of fundraising ideas and are learning some life skills as they raise money for the trip. They sold flowers for Valentine’s Day, cookies for St. Patrick’s Day.
This month, after brainstorming some more unusual ideas, they started flamingo flocking.
They’ve landed the birds on the lawn of an 80-year-old resident, for his birthday and, coincidentally, the home where their music teacher, Andrew Norton, lives.
The scouts do most of the work, Penafiel said. Under the cover of darkness, they plant the birds and remove them no longer than 48 hours later. “It‘s nerve-wracking to be on someone’s lawn” doing a flocking, according to Penafiel.
“These plastic ambassadors are out to brighten your day,” the brochure states, and to brighten the way for the troop to get to Washington.
Flocking is done ”in good spirits and is not meant to be malicious,” according to the flocking order form.
After they’ve been flocked, “People do smile,” Penafiel said. The spouse of the grandpa who was flocked for his birthday said "she couldn’t stop laughing,” according to Penafiel.
“Loved it,” said Martha Smith, whose flock arrived in snow. She works for REI. The granddaughter of REI greeter Ron Petrin is in Girl Scout Troop 71290, Smith said. Petrin and his wife had the flamingos visit the Smith lawn.
“I was honored to be flocked,” Smith told Patch. Her home was never “TP’d” (toilet papered), she said, and “I’m the biggest kid going.”
Sue Panacopoulos’ reaction to the flamingos on her lawn this past weekend?
“Laughter,” she said. “It’s funny. Flamingos are fun animals, especially their color. I hope (the Girl Scouts) raise the money (they need) for their trip.”
Flamingo flocking is done as a business in Florida, Penafiel noted. “They charge more,” she said.
To flock a resident, or yourself, visit www.troop71290.com and complete the “Tickle them Pink” order form. Either use PayPal or mail a check payable to GS Troop 71290 to GS Flocking, 189 Summer Ave., Reading, MA, 01867. Pay $30 if you’re an adult, $15 if you’re a student. You can order the flamingos anonymously.
Editor's note: High school students in North Reading have also held flamingo flocking fundraisers for a number of years for student trips. The Hikin' Hornets are working on a flamingo flocking fundraiser now for their trip to Florida in April. We will feature the North Reading fundraiser in the near future. Email Claudia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on the Hikin' Hornets.