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Stepping in someone else's shoes

For all of the participants, they said the hardest part was staying out in the cold night. To keep warm they huddled together in the box and had a burn barrel. Michele and Stephen Petrelli, some community members, also brought hot chocolate for the girls to help them stay warm during the night, they said.

They had support from other community members, especially Kevin Wisely, a past chief and a current volunteer for the Belgium Cold Springs Fire Dept. Wisely built a barricade around the box so no cars would interfere, secured the fire station as the location, got a burn barrel and kept checking on the group throughout the night, they said.

They said another challenge they faced was trying to get people to understand why they were doing the night in the box instead of just collecting money.

"It makes us feel good," said Voyer. "We did something that helps people. We're always trying to improve on the previous year."

The girls have already started talking about their plans for 2011. They decided a smaller box would be better and they want to open the event up to more people, particularly other Girl Scout troops.

While they didn't have fun during the event, they all agreed it was an experience they are glad they had and are willing to do it again.

"It makes us thankful for what we have," said Sarah Dugan.

All of them said their beds never felt as nice as they did on Sunday when they got back from their night in the box.

Voyer added, "We take things for granted."

Santoro said she had a hard time making it through the night. "I didn't sleep because I felt like Mama Bear," she said. "Every noise woke me up. Being a mom, I couldn't imagine sleeping with my family outside because we had no where to go."

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