Farragut Girl Scouts: Big troop, bigger hearts

Gretchen CrawleyFarragut, Our Town Youth

Hillary Chandler, administrator for Girl Scout Troop 20627, has six girls at home and about 60 girls at Farragut Church of Christ one Sunday a month. That’s when the group of Girl Scouts, ranging from Daises (kindergarten and first grade) to Cadettes (sixth through eighth grade), meet.

Chandler grew up in Girl Scouts, so when it was time for her first daughter to join, she followed her mother’s footsteps and founded a troop in Farragut. Eight years later, all her eligible daughters have worn the iconic uniform – and her last two daughters will receive theirs once they enroll in kindergarten next year.

Chandler has watched her daughters and their Girl Scout sisters grow. For her, the difference Girl Scouts makes in members’ lives and the surrounding community stands out.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 20627’s first grade Daisies group smile for a photo outside of Farragut Primary School after participating in a clean-up and planting service event: Lily Hicks, Baylor Mason, Penny Laine Buschle, Hadley Mason, Piper Moore and Sydney Roberts.

“As Daises, they learn the basics like respecting themselves and others,” Chandler said. “They craft and sell cookies. But, as they age, Girl Scouts really guide the troop and its activities.”

The Farragut troop quickly increased in size, and soon the Girl Scout members were separated by age, allowing them to become even more independent and immerse themselves in specific interests.

“In a way, it’s almost like we are a troop of five smaller troops,” Chandler said. “(Our structure) increases the impact that each age group can make while making meeting times easier to attend for Girl Scout families. We’ve multiplied our community service and been able to accept girls who might not have been able to make it to work logistically.”

In 2021, the troop led a campaign to encourage safe volunteering amid the pandemic, school cleanups during recess and on the weekends, a canned food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee and a clothing drive for the Compassion Closet. The Girl Scout members also have given back to the church that allows the troop to meet monthly, sung carols at Farragut’s Founders Park and delivered cookies to first responders.

Junior Girl Scouts of Farragut’s troop 20627 sort clothing for the Compassion Closet as part of their Bronze Award project to encourage volunteering amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They are Lauren Neal, Audrey Vann (back), Scarlett Cooper (front), Arabelle Wray, Kate Price, Emma Scheve, Alexis Nagy and Olive Jessee.

Juniors of Farragut Girl Scout Troop 20627 have completed a combined 73 hours of community service since starting their Bronze Award project to jumpstart volunteering amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Members include Alexis Nagy, Kate Price, Arabelle Wray, Olivia Kate McGill, Olive Jessee, Emma Scheve, Audrey Vann, Lauren Neal and Scarlett Cooper.

“Life is busy, and it can be hard to expose your girl to everything you want her to experience,” Chandler said. “Girl Scouts makes all those moments possible, and girls create memories and make friends along the way.”

Girl Scouts always is accepting new members. Learn more about the Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians at girlscoutcsa.org, and find a troop by texting the word “JOIN” to 59618 or sending an email to [email protected].

Gretchen Crawley is VP of communications for Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians. 

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