Girl Scouts: Alive and kicking

Lucy BranamOur Town Youth

“We’re alive and kicking here in East Knox County!” says Girl Scouts troop 20411 leader Jane New. And she’s right. Despite a global pandemic bringing many everyday activities and events to a screeching halt, Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians has pressed on, adapting to the ever-changing environment along the way.

Alice Bratten leads 20411 along with Jane, and their small troop of Juniors was able to keep meeting throughout the past year by making safe accommodations, such as meeting outside and wearing masks. Other troops in the same service unit, aptly called New Visions, met and did activities virtually. Jane says of holding troop meetings, “There was the joy of being together and it offered stability to the girls. Leaders went out of their way to keep doing activities.”

One major Girl Scout activity is selling cookies. While New Visions troops had to be creative with their selling, such as holding drive-thru cookie booths, girls still were able to partake in this special entrepreneurial program. In addition to selling, troops donated cookies to groups such as Volunteer Ministry, USPS, Hope Kitchen, Mobile Meals, Care Cuts and Bethel UMC for their outreach programs.

The troop had to be flexible and host cookie booths in new locations, but there was an upside to this as it gave the girls a chance to be out and about in areas where there wasn’t an active Girl Scout presence.

“Sometimes we find people are unsure about what Girl Scouts do, but they do know how to buy cookies!” Jane says. She feels this new visibility will open the doors for new recruitment opportunities in the fall, as well as generate more ideas for community projects that girls can do.

The outdoors provided meeting space for many troop activities. Pictured here, Fountain City’s troop 21186 enjoys a stroll at Seven Islands State Birding Park.

Speaking of projects, troop 20596 earned the Girl Scout Silver Award this year. Rachel, Emmalyn, Ellen, and Bella worked as a team with Young-Williams Animal Center to raise awareness for and help support the needs of their foster program.

They hosted a kitten shower to make cat beds and cat toys, learn about pet care, learn about the foster program and donate pet supplies. They also developed videos to aid Brownies in earning their Pets Badge and a website about the project to reach a wider audience. While Covid-19 did create issues for them, they persevered and completed their project.

If a girl you know could benefit from enriching activities, new experiences, girl-friendly fun and lessons that last a lifetime, then sign her up for Girl Scouts! You can join at any point in the year, but why wait? GSCSA’s summer camp is fast approaching, and members get special pricing. There is also an extended membership incentive for new members this year: join now and your membership is good through September 20, 2022!

Lucy Branam is creative content coordinator for Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians.

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