The appeal of being in Girl Scouts shows in the bright smiles and sparkling eyes of a local troop member and her mom.
"What I like best about Girl Scouts are the things we get to do," said 9-year old Raven as she proceeded to show me an array of photos that she had taken during her last camp outing. "We can explore nature, and we meet new people, and ride horses," she exploded as she anxiously waited for me to interview her.
Raven is a member of Troop #704 in Waynedale. Her mom, Kitty Burnworth is their leader and assistant leader for the troop is Betty Hyder. "Our troop meets at Kingston, but sometimes we meet other places like Foster Park," commented Raven. Girl Scout troops meet at many different times, days and locations based on the girls and volunteers. Daisy members are 5-6 years of age, Brownies 6-8 years, and Junior Girl Scouts are 8-11.
Later in the summer Raven will be heading for Camp Logan. Here several dozen Girl Scouts will soon begin singing songs around a campfire near Syracuse, Indiana. The 200-acre retreat is situated on Dewart Lake and gives girls grades 1-12 a chance to participate in many different things. They will get to try their hand at activities like kayaking, canoeing, biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, archery, and crafts. Last year as a first time camper Raven stayed 3 days at Camp Logan in the Webster House. "We got to do a lot of things, and I met a lot of good friends, too," she commented. Kitty, Raven's mom, asked Raven on their way home from her first camp experience if she had fun. Raven's comment was, "No!" "I had a blast! And I am really looking forward to going back next year." This year Raven will join the other girls with a camp theme: Retro Fever.
Girl Scouting is fun for the girls as well as leaders. Raven's mom, Kitty is actively involved in Girl Scouting also. She is the Leader for Troop #704, which has 7 members, along with Masha, a Juliette Girl Scout from Russia (Juliette's are foreign exchange students).
It is because of adult volunteers like Kitty that the Girl Scout program is so successful. "We joined Girl Scouts so that I could spend some quality time with my daughter," Burnworth said. "In our busy life it is hard to find the time. This gives my daughter a committed time with mom." "I think scouting centers a young girl in the things that have more importance in life rather than in things that are passing and of no value. The lessons you learn stay with you all your life."
Originally Kitty became a Girl Scout leader for her daughter Raven, but as time went on Kitty also found a lot of bonding. Just like the girls the leaders influence each other in healthy ways, too.
Selling cookies is the major fundraiser for Troop #704. Raven sold more than 300 boxes last year. "We sell our Girl Scout cookies by going door to door," Raven said. "And this year we sold them at stores like Scott's in Waynedale and K-mart, Kroger, Shoe Carnival, YMCA, and Lowe's." Raven asked, "Do you want to hear my jingle?" "Before you slip out the door, Please, help Troop 704. We're selling a treat that's really sweet. So buy a box or more!" The money raised from all local cookie sales stays in the area, but it is not enough to equip and maintain camp and provide for all the girls that want to attend. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
The Girl Scout program not only focus' on building self-confidence and developing teamwork skills, but also on activities that teach young girls about important issues facing today's youth, such as health and fitness in exciting outdoor programs like Camp McMillen and Camp Logan.
The Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council have experienced substantial growth due in part to the wonderful service that Linda Christman, Community Development Manager has given Adams, Allen, Huntington, and Wells counties. "We want to make Girl Scouting available to every girl that wants to join," said Linda. "We currently serve over 10,500 girls between the ages of 5 and 17 and nearly 2,500 adult volunteers within Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Steuben and Wells counties in northeast Indiana." "My job is so much fun that sometimes it is like a game."
It is within this unique all-girl setting that a girl finds courage as she explores new adventures, confidence as she discovers her abilities, character as she shapes her values, connections through friendships with other girls, and commitment opportunities as she gives back to her community and makes the world a better place. The Girl Scouts of the United States of America were founded in 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, by Juliette Gordon Low. Their mission statement is "to inspire girls with the highest ideals of character, conduct, patriotism and service that they may become happy, resourceful citizens." Girl Scouts is a part of a worldwide family of 8.5 million girls and adults in 144 countries.
If you are interested in learning more about Girl Scouting in the Waynedale area or would like to attend one of the upcoming camps, contact Maplewood Leader Kitty Burnworth, she can be reached at 747-0807.