Girl Scouts, which turned 109 years old on March 12, 2021, has a long history of encouraging its members to be active in their communities. Two troops recently showed examples of what a great partnership between them and their community can look like.
Jessie Boromei, Ana Berkheimer, Ava Berkheimer and Annabel Dattilo, of Troop 20034 from Northwest Knoxville, built an outdoor classroom at Seven Islands State Birding Park as their Silver Award project. The girls worked with park staff and sought donations from the community to purchase supplies.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in January. This outdoor classroom, featuring benches made from nearby fallen trees, gives park visitors an area where they can gather while keeping Covid-19 safety protocols in mind. Not only is the classroom available to the community, but it also has been put to use by other Girl Scouts.
In mid-March, troops used the classroom for a workshop followed by a hike. Girls learned leave-no-trace techniques from a trained expert, how to use maps and a compass, and how to pack and prepare for a hike.
Stephanie Mueller, a ranger at Seven Islands and a Girl Scout volunteer, had this to say about the importance of partnerships between Girl Scouts and their communities: “It’s a great thing to have these relationships. It gives Girl Scouts, and youth in general, the chance to meet people and network. Girls are introduced to different careers, jobs and opportunities. Also, Girl Scouts can give back to their communities.”
Troop 21120 from East Knoxville held cookie booths at Bethel United Methodist Church during weekends. In addition to purchasing cookies, those who stopped by were also offered a free meal made by members of the small church. Jane New, a Girl Scout volunteer, said of this, “It was really a win-win for Girl Scouts and this Kodak community. The girls saw how they could be supported by the community. The community was equally very happy to see that the Girl Scouts would think their community was important.”
Relationships, whether in friendship form, teamwork form or with a community, will continue to be an important part of Girl Scouting for the next 109 years!
Lucy Branam is creative content coordinator for Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians.