Sunday, October 25, 2015

Girl Scout Opportunities

When I was a kid, girl scouts (or at least the troop I was in) was kind of a drag.  We had a few fun trips and sleepovers, but mostly we sat around inside doing crafts and homemaking skills.  So I was pretty skeptical when a friend invited us to help start a troop when Sedona was in Kindergarten.  We're now on our fourth year with that troop and Girl Scouts can be so much more than what I experienced!  The girls have been learning valuable skills all along--everything from outdoor skills to financial literacy to coding and online collaboration to the importance of service.  They are excited about everything Girl Scouts offers them as they get older and Sierra already has her sights set on earning her Gold Award when she's in high school.

They've had some particularly fun opportunities this semester.  A little while ago, the CEO of Girl Scouts USA, Anna Maria Chávez, came to visit our council and the girls were able to meet her.  They might as well have been meeting the president, they were so excited.

After a brief reception where they got to check out some new programs in the area, the guests of honor arrived.  They talked with the CEO of our council, Lynelle McKay first.  They had met her a couple of years ago and I'm not sure if she really remembered them or faked it well, but they chatted for a bit about that other event they first met at and what the girls have been up to since then:
Then it was time for the main presentation.  Secora and I stood in the back since it was a full house:
Anna Maria Chávez gave a brief talk where she told everyone a little bit about her history and how she got her nickname (Eagle 1) and explained what a CEO is.
The girls ended up sitting in the front row and Sedona, being a brownie (the most common age of girl scouts), was directly addressed or asked questions several times during the talk.  It all started with, "tell me Sedona, who is your principal at school?" "I'm homeschooled."  "I KNEW you were gonna say that".  There were several instances though where she would say something about brownies and add in something along the lines of, "Just like you, Sedona."   During the Q&A at the end, Sierra was able to ask a question too ("Have you ever met the president?" The answer is yes...several of them).

Afterwards, there was time for short meet and greets.  She (and each council CEO) has a patch any girls who meet her get, so the girls were very excited to talk to her personally and get her patch.
I was very impressed because I was standing off to the side and overheard one of her "handlers" (local Girl Scout people, nothing fancy) telling someone else, "I know she's scheduled to leave now, but she says she wants to talk to the girls, she doesn't want to go yet."
The girls were very excited and star-struck.  A few days later, Sedona brought me an envelope and asked me to mail it to Anna Maria Chávez.  Well, I just couldn't do that without seeing what was inside, so I opened it up and found this letter:
There are a few things about this.  First, writing in general is quite difficult for Sedona.  It took A LOT of effort for her to write this as neatly as she did and to get the spelling right and she did it without any help from an adult.  Second, she also included $1 of her own money.  Anna Maria Chávez told a short anecdote (it wasn't even a main part of her talk, more of an "in passing" thing) about how there are no pictures of her as a kid in a Girl Scout uniform because her family couldn't afford one and so now she'll sometimes use her own money to get girls uniforms if she meets some who don't have one.  There were so many other things talked about, but that little part is what stuck with Sedona and she wanted to help.  Because she's awesome like that.

In other activities, the older girls in our troop had a chance to go work at a local Dairy Queen one night.  Sierra absolutely loved this activity.  Dairy Queen had planned it well and each girl was paired up with a different employee, then they rotated around the restaurant periodically.  Sierra got to work the drive thru:
And prepare ice cream orders:
And work the cash register/take orders.

In regular meetings, the older girls have been working on their first Cadette Journey, exploring media and learning about ways media is helpful and harmful and brainstorming ways to improve media.  For this particular activity, they had a minute to rip out all the misleading beauty ads in a maganize, then they ripped them up and made art of out them

I usually work with the older girls, so I don't spend a whole lot of time with Sedona at meetings, but she spent a recent Sunday afternoon working with the local DAR to clean up a local park

There are plenty more fun activities coming up before the end of the year.  An overnight at an aquarium, and Sierra is starting to think about what she wants to do for her Silver Award project.  She seems to be showing the most interest in something to help people with special needs, but she hasn't zeroed in on a specific idea yet.

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