When my dad said that we were going to go to a Blues hockey game with a bunch of St. Louis Girl Scouts, I didn't quite know what to expect. I definitely didn't anticipate that these girls would be some of the most kind, deserving, and utterly grateful people I've ever met, and I couldn't have enjoyed the time I spent with them more.

After first meeting the girls, I led them up the elevator to the suite from where we would watch the game. A few of the girls clung to me in the elevator, and I felt closer to them already. Literally. But what happened next blew me away.

Right as we walked into the suite, which overlooked the arena, the girls gasped, and then some began to cry. Happy tears, I promise! For they had never been to a hockey game before, and after seeing the piles of food in front of them, they were so overwhelmed.

When my dad told the girls that they could have as much food as they wanted and eat until they were full, their eyes and mouths widened in shock, and they ran towards the food table, squealing with glee.

And after my dad (named Barry), one of the troop leaders, and I ordered Dippin' Dots for 12 (which was a personal first and hopefully not a last), the chorus of "thank you Mr. Barry"'s was all that we needed to hear to know that our gift had touched these sweet girls.

Partway through the first period, they gave my dad a gift...a Girl Scouts tote filled with a mug, cookies, and a T-shirt. But as my dad rummaged through the bag, he found something that nearly brought me to tears. The girls had all made him handmade thank you cards. I could see the gratitude in my dad's gradually widening smile and I could tell that he knew that they had made a difference in his life (and mine!) just as he had done for them.

They're just normal girls. They play with hair, play phone games, and love chicken fingers. I cannot emphasize that last one enough. They're also aspiring gymnasts/dancers who love to do splits and show off their swagger. And they loved cheering for the little kids who played hockey during the first intermission.

They also say fun things to me like, "You look like you're either 11, 12, or 15." Honestly, I can't disagree.

While they might not be the most financially privileged children and while they aren't able to live with their moms, these girls truly live beyond bars. They showed that kindness and a good heart matter more than any sum of money, and it's the times you share with the people who care about you that really matter. Watching the camaraderie with the girls and their troop leaders, I could tell that they weren't just a group of girls; they were family.

I'm so lucky I got to be a part of their family for just one night, and I hope I can spend more quality time with them soon.