Service mindset starts early with Girl Scouts

Gretchen CrawleyAnderson, Our Town Youth

In Oak Ridge, a thriving Girl Scout troop now comprises 22 members and three leaders, including Jaime Ramseier, who’s been with many of the girls since kindergarten.

Every girl in the troop is in various phases of working toward earning bronze or silver awards, which are two of the three highest awards given by the organization.

Juniors (grades 4-5) work together on projects that benefit their towns to earn the Bronze Award and Cadettes (grades 6-8) go deeper to research, plan and implement projects to improve communities to earn the Silver Award.

While the junior girls are picking projects and completing training to prepare for their bronze awards, Ramseier said, “Ten girls are working toward Silver Awards, with two projects that have been approved, funded and started.”

Sometimes students need a moment to collect themselves and take a break in the restroom, so one project includes designing and installing encouraging quotes on stall doors. Two other girls are creating a pollinator and kindness garden, even working with elementary students to paint kindness rocks to adorn the space.

They also worked together last summer on their Bronze Award project, creating donation bins outside the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter. All three wrote applications and received the Joyce Maienschein Leadership Grant to help fund the projects. Maienschein, a longtime volunteer with Oak Ridge Girl Scouts, led her troop to international recognition and made many lasting contributions to Girl Scouting.

“It’s so great to see them working together to impact the community,” Ramseier said. “The Bronze Award includes 20 volunteer hours, and the Silver Award 50 hours, so it’s a big commitment. I’m struck by how these young ladies are so mature and working to give back. It’s an awesome feeling to get to watch that growth.”

Next up, are 2024 cookie sales, and the troop will utilize cookie funds for a trip to Savannah, Georgia, to visit the Girl Scouts founder’s birthplace.

If you know of a girl who could benefit from meeting others in Girl Scouts, learn more at and find a troop near you by texting the word “JOIN” to 59618 or sending an email to Troops always are accepting new Girl Scouts!

Gretchen Crawley is chief communications officer for Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians. 

Joscelyn Williamson clears an area at Glenwood Elementary School for a pollinator and kindness garden


Julia Sacala clears an area at Glenwood Elementary as she pursues a Girl Scout Silver Award.


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