Girl Scouts Celebrate 107 Years
by Margaret Campbell
The Girl Scout movement in Middle Tennessee began in 1917 with a Nashville troop. Ever since, girls in communities throughout the region have taken the oath to live by the Girl Scout law — to do their best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what they say and do, and to respect themselves and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
The Girl Scout community reaches far beyond local troops; when a girl joins the program, she becomes a member of a worldwide sisterhood. The program offers a safe, fun learning environment supported by thousands of volunteers that challenge the participants to be their best.
The organization presents an enumerable variety of opportunities for girls to connect to their local communities through Girl Scout traditions that include leadership, outdoor skills, camping and community service, the arts and sciences. This is all done while establishing lifelong friendships, having fun and learning.
As evidenced right here in Giles County, there are many opportunities that go beyond scouting’s basic traditions and add a focus on healthy living, the arts, financial literacy, science, technology and entrepreneurship. A large part of the Girl Scout mission is a commitment to making their community and world a better place with a legacy that makes today’s girls the leaders of tomorrow.
In Giles County, any local girl in grades K-12 can join and experience these traditions for themselves. There is a Girl Scout troop suited for every girl at any age level. The levels are Daisies — grades K-1; Brownies — grades 2-3; Juniors — grades 4-5; Cadets — grades 6-8; Seniors — grades 9-10; and Ambassadors — grades 11-12.
“Most girls enter the scout program as Daisies, which are grades K-1st, then bridge up to the next level, but no matter the age or level, the Scout meeting always ends the same, with the friendship squeeze,” Scout Leader Jennifer Williamson said.
“Once a week or biweekly, a unique group of Girl Scouts gather with their leaders and community volunteers here in Giles County to participate in traditional Girl Scout activities like arts and crafts, songs, games and plan for their badges and patches. All this takes place while learning skills that they will carry throughout their adulthood.”
Local scouts of all ages are staying busy learning and contributing. Members of Troop 1171 spent time learning important skills like CPR. Scouting also teaches participants about financial responsibility and entrepreneurship through participation in annual cookie sales.
“Our scouts just wrapped up the cookie season for 2018-19,” Williamson said. “Outside of raising money for each troop to use for trips, supplies and events, our scouts all learn valuable lessons in finances and responsibility.
“The Scouts also collect cookies for donation each year that are sent to our deployed service men and women. Troop 2229 girls, Addison Williamson and Madelynn Witt, collected a combined total of 30 boxes for the Backpack Program at Richland Elementary School.”
A year in the life of a Girl Scout is filled with fun and exciting adventure as each girl bridges to the next level on her journey.
“There is a special ceremony held for the girls that make all the requirements to go up to the next level,” Williamson explained. “Each girl renews their promise to do their best to live by the Girl Scout law, then they cross over a homemade bridge to represent the crossing over to the next level. At this time the scout will receive their new vest/sash.”
Troop 1147 reached a milestone this past year with a letter from Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee congratulating them for their Bronze Award Project — “Troop 1147 Lends a Hand.”
“You are to be commended for the excellent work you have done achieving you respective goals,” President and CEO Agenia Clark wrote. “The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn and we applaud your commitment to helping others, improving your community and the world, and becoming the best you can be. You have demonstrated leadership and planning skills and made a difference in your community.”
The Scouts were invited to attend the council-sponsored spring awards ceremony, Salute to Outstanding Leadership Awards, that will be April 29 at Lipscomb University. The next step for the Troop is to begin work on their Silver Award, for which the prospects are endless.
The highest award for Girl Scouts is the Gold Award. Daryl Brindley’s Troop has two recipients.
“I have a Troop of eight girls who have been together since Kindergarten,” Brindley said. “Anna Grace Herd and Mary Margaret Brindley have received their Gold Awards for projects that included replacing the outdated sign for the Growing Tree Nursery School and adding a music wall for one of the classrooms and for painting to spruce up the Help Center Food Bank as well as creating a healthy menu for the center’s clients and updating their Facebook page.”
It is evident that through Girl Scout programs in Giles County, participants are gaining confidence and character while they are having fun and building lifelong friendships. The programs provide new experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.