AURORA, Colo. – Five 13-year-old girls were on a mission to secure the coveted Silver Award— the second highest Girl Scouts honor.
The project Troop 60789 took on to achieve that goal, took on a life of its own.
“We didn't expect it to be big at all. We thought it would just be some minor thing, but here we are,” Amelia Malchow said.
She is one of the troops hoping to change smoking laws in Aurora, where city councilors on Monday night voted to do exactly that.
An ordinance that would make it illegal for smokers of any kind to light up inside of a car with anyone 18-years-old or younger unanimously passed its first reading during Monday's meeting. The measure moves to a final vote next week.
Part of the girls’ research led them to the topic of secondhand smoke.
“Trying to pass an ordinance in the city, banning smoking in the car with minors present is the way to go,” troop leader Kristen Batcho told Denver7.As it stands, the ordinance Perpetrators would face a $150 minimum fine, which would increase with each offense.
The maximum fine would be set by section 1-13 of the City Code, at $2,650.
In the last, almost full-year of preparation, the girls have relied on Aurora Councilman Charlie Richardson for direction in the legislative process.
“They're addressing: What is the role of government in public health,” he said.
Richardson said the call he received from the troop was out of the blue, but he obliged.
“We started with the mechanics on the front end,” Richardson said.
Troopers Amelia Malchow and Makenna Batcho said Richardson’s help was instrumental.
“We just had an idea, and we didn't know anything. He told us everything that we needed to know, and he helped us get this far,” Malchow added.
Troop 60789 walked away from Monday’s vote victorious.
“Be aware that you have a child in the car with you, and that they can suffer from secondhand smoking,” Makenna Batcho pleaded.
Girl Scouts of Colorado leaders said the young ladies would be receiving the organization’s prestigious Silver Award.