MONTVILLE, NJ – About fifty girls attended a Teddy Bear Tea hosted by Girl Scout Troop 4916, seventh graders at Lazar.

Four of the girls in the 11-girl troop created the party as a fundraiser for their Girl Scout Silver Award. Joleen Amer, Sara LoPresti, Ridhee Maddula and Rebekah Mathew chose working with refugees as the focus of their project.

“We wanted to help children in need, especially in Syria, because we knew about the hardships and the war there,” said Joleen Amer, who said she comes from a Middle Eastern background.

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The foursome is working with RAMP (Refugee Assistance Morris Partners), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families from Middle-Eastern refugee camps transition to productive lives of dignity, safety and hope in Morris County, according to RAMP’s website.

To that end, the fundraiser proceeds will be used to purchase backpacks, hats and t-shirts to send with refugee girls to summer camp. The girls also asked party attendees to bring donations of notebooks, crayons, and other school-type supplies, and a large bin was collected that day.

The teddy bear tea party, held in two hour-and-a-half seatings, included a host of activities, crafts and games for the excited girls who came to the Montville Township Senior House on Nov. 4 for the event. They crafted “teddy tents” and teddy bear faces out of graham crackers, marshmallows and frosting, decorated bear bags, guessed how many gummy bears were in the jar, painted their hands brown and stamped them onto paper to make bears, played musical chairs, and had storytime. Many of the girls in the 11-girl troop came to support their troopmates in the project, which Ridhee Maddula said they’d been planning since the beginning of September with the help of the craft and project website Pinterest.

And of course, there was iced tea, water and pretzels for the bears and their friends.

The girls need a total of 50 hours of community service to achieve the Silver Award, plus a “legacy” portion of the project, which includes a website or brochure, before the Silver Award is finished.