Ask your annual sales representative for Girl Scout Cookies what year it is, and they’ll say 2012 is the “Year of the Girl!”
Founded in 1912, by a lady nick-named “Daisy,” Girl Scouts of the USA has a current membership of more than three million; and more than 50 million alumnae. The one hundred year old organization began with a single person’s vision and just 18 girls.
According to the organization’s website, “Juliette ‘Daisy’ Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.”
Today’s young Girl Scouts also learn about important social issues. The website proclaims, “from our willingness to tackle important societal issues, to our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness — Girl Scouts is dedicated to every girl, everywhere.”
The organization uses a host of sources in developing programs to educate Girl Scouts about social issues. Their sources include the Girl Scout Research Institute, Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Education Statistics, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Monitoring the Future, and other public agencies, websites, and publications.
Current issues and programs include civic engagement and volunteering, education, physical and mental health, safety, sexual activity and pregnancy, sports and physical activity, tobacco and substance abuse, as well as violence.
Local Girl Scout troops are right on target with national standards for the organization, as they are involved in an array of activities from horse back riding to wildlife preservation, community service and environmental studies.
Kelly Tarlton, leader for Girl Scout Troop 12 of Chesterfield, said they have been studying about fresh water sources around the world. They’ve been talking about how important it is to have clean water for one’s health and safety. Tarlton said they’ve also learned that people in some areas of the world don’t have access to fresh water.
This past weekend the troop completed an educational activity where they had to tie their babies on their backs, maneuver through the obstacle course on the playground at Zoar United Methodist Church, and fetch a cup of muddy water. Once they returned with the water it had to be filtered before it could be used. Just the thought of having to bathe, cook or drink such water sent these young troops into a rhythm of gaging noises and words like “yuck” and “gross.”
Joe Tarlton, who also helps with the troop, works for the Anson County Water Department. He has shared his knowledge of the importance of fresh water at home, as that is part of his job. Just this past week Tarlton participated in a “back flow cross prevention” program aimed at educating the public against watershed contamination.
According to Tarlton, “only three percent of the Earth’s water is fresh water. The rest is salt water.”
Each week, when this group of girls meet, they prepare what have come to be known as “back pack lunches.” Donations from various churches and individuals create a variety of packaged snacks, fruits and other foods for needy children in this community. School officials help determine the students in need. Then each week, late on Friday afternoon, a package of extra snacks for the weekend is slipped into their back packs. This prevents other children from knowing the students’ situation.
Daisy Troop 12, also of Chesterfield, is for the younger girls. They are currently learning about wildlife preservation and have been busy building bird baths; complete with bright, red-breasted robins.
Also in the Chesterfield Ruby area, Brownie Troop 146 has been working on equestrian badges with the Circle K Ranch on Highway 265. At the ranch, owned and operated by Pam Helms, the young scouts learn everything there is do to around the barn and ranch house; including riding, grooming, feeding, and cleaning out the stalls.
“A lot of good old fashioned fun and hard work,” is what happens at the ranch, said Helms. The Circle K is set up very much like a camp and is geared to teaching young people how to ride and compete in equestrian competitions.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, ext. 224, or by email at email@example.com.