Onekama Girl Scout raising money for school in Uganda

Chris and Rebbeca Vogts along with their family pose with Onekama High School student Kayla Feil who is trying to raise $20,000 to build a school in Uganda where the Vogts served as missionaries.

Chris and Rebbeca Vogts along with their family pose with Onekama High School student Kayla Feil who is trying to raise $20,000 to build a school in Uganda where the Vogts served as missionaries.

ONEKAMA — Onekama High School senior and Girl Scout member Kayla Feil has never been a person to shy away from challenges.

When Feil was still an underclassman she set her sights on becoming a Mackinac Island Honor Scout and accomplished the goal. When it came time to select Gold Award (equivalent to Boy Scout Eagle Scout Award) Feil selected raising $20,000 for a school in Uganda.

“I was trying to think up something to do for my Gold Award and during that time in my church I was going through my confirmation,” she said. “My mentor’s daughter Rebecca Vogts and her husband Chris were in Uganda on a mission and she said I should email them to see if there is anything you could do to help. So I went out on a limb and emailed them and they said you could raise money to build a school.”

The Vogts are missionaries through New Hope Uganda. It is an organization Feil is working with through the Faith Covenant Church in Manistee where she is a member.

Kayla’s mother, Rebecca, said she likes the initiative her daughter has shown in taking on such an important project that will help many children in Uganda.

“I am very proud of Kayla taking on this project,” said Rebecca. “Her interest in making a difference in these children has been amazing.”

Feil said the whole family has jumped on board to encourage her in the process.

“Kayla worked with her dad to put together the blue print for the building and then has researched the cost for the building supplies through theVogts and the Internet to come up with the approximate cost of the building,” said Rebecca. “She has put a lot of time and effort in just planning this project and now continues to try to raise the money. She is very dedicated to see this project to the end.”

The fundraising project has grown well beyond Kayla’s friends at Onekama Consolidate Schools. She has started receving help from the entire community.

“Kayla got a lot of support from the kids while she did her T-shirt sale,” said Rebecca. “It was nice to see kids from the different schools support her project.”

The young philanthropist has ran quite a few fundraisers already and has more in the works.

“Right now I am collecting pop cans and I plan on doing a car wash, a dinner and possibly even another T-shirt sale,” she said. “I am even looking for grants to help with it and keeping my eye out for those type of things.”

The only downside to the whole school fundraising project is the Girl Scouts didn’t accept this project as Kayla’s Gold Award project.

“I started planning this project halfway through my sophomore year,” she said. “The Gold Award leaders said it didn’t meet money raising standards, but they also told me it might be too big of a project to accomplish.”

The Girl Scouts may have turned Feil down, but they were unaware of her determination.

“I had it all planned out, but since they didn’t approve it my feelings were ‘I was meant to do this,’ so I decided to stick with it,” she said.

Feil said she has determined from her plans the school building will cost $14,500 to construct. However,  she has a goal of $20,000 because she wants enough funds in case anything goes wrong.

“I plan to keep at it until we get the whole amount or at least $15,000, and right now we have about $3,500 of it raised so far,” she said. “People can donate online at Youcaring.com and you can search Gold Award Uganda.

Feil said that anyone wanting to make a donation or even donate pop cans can contact her via email at 15seikay@manistee.org  She will either come pick up the cans or accept their donations.

“This is something I plan on channeling a ton of my energy on this year,” she said.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.