A Dunwoody City Councilwoman is hoping to spread the word about sun safety to local girl scouts.
Along with her family’s foundation, Adrian Bonser helped to create a sun safety patch for the Girl Scouts of America in memory of her father, who died in 2009 from melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Bonser said she is beginning to approach scout troops and other organizations about offering the sun safety education for the patch in the Atlanta area.
“Last year was the test program and it was offered in the Washington, D.C., area,” Bonser said. “I’d like to see it started here in Dunwoody.”
Bonser’s sister, Carin Gendell, who lives in Washington, said the patch is available for any troop that is interested.
“Every troop throughout the country decides the activities they want to do based on the interest of the girls,” Gendell said. “It’s for troops who want to expand beyond the basic badges into areas that interest them.”
The sun safety booklet includes activities that are age appropriate for different scouting levels. For example, younger girls can make bracelets out of UV-sensitive beads that change color in sunlight. Older girls could interview a skin cancer survivor.
“A lot of girls know they have to be careful. If they’re interested in learning more … this is a really fun, engaging program to learn more about the science and health aspects of sun safety,” Gendell said.
Bonser said girl scouts represent an especially crucial group to target with information about the dangers of getting too much sun.
Girls between the ages of 10 and 19 make up 90 percent of all pediatric melanoma cases.
“I’m hoping to make people aware of it so they can start educating young girls not to bake in the sun like we used to,” Bonser said.
Many girls may not think about the risks of skin damage and cancer when they sunbathe.
“Even though they feel like it makes them look more attractive, it’s not healthy,” Bonser said.
Their family foundation – the Gendell Foundation – chose to take on the sun safety patch as its biggest endeavor following the death of Bonser’s father, Gerry Gendell.
“We agreed that’s how we’d like to honor and remember my father,” Bonser said.