By Terry Rogers
On Thursday, August 31 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, the Back to Scouts and Fall Fundraising Kick-Off Rally for Girl Scouts will be held at the Carlisle Fire Company in Milford. According to Jennifer Antonik, coordinator of the event, it is a chance for local girls to celebrate a new scouting year and learn about Girl Scouting while interacting with local heroes.
“Girls will visit different stations, playing games, creating their own superhero and exploring how they are Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk Takers and Leaders in our community,” Ms. Antonik said. “Our heroes will facilitate the stations and play right along with the girls. This also doubles as our fall product fund raiser rally. Leaders will get their fundraising packets to distribute to girls already registered and girls will get a chance to see our new products and this year’s prizes. The theme for our fall fundraiser is “Unleash the Hero Inside.” What could be a better way to celebrate unleashing our own heroes than at the fire station with heroes all around us?”
Ms. Antonik said that some of the heroes who will be assisting at the event include Jenn Rowan of Lifecycle; Janet Berry of People’s Place; Lan Redden, co-owner of Archology; Officer Teresa Bloodsworth of the Milford Police Department; Robin Lank of the Milford Public Library; Nikki Cooper a Human Resources Specialist at Bayhealth; as well as Kim Gottstein, a X-ray Technician at Bayhealth. Ms. Antonik says there will also be female firefighters and nurses on hand.
“Listening to speeches is tough for kids of any age, but especially the youngest ones,” Ms. Antonik said. “Since Girl Scouting serves girls from 5-18 years old, we needed to find an activity for our rally they would all benefit from. So, our local heroes will be interacting directly with the girls as attendees visit the station so they will get to play or craft alongside the girls. We will have posters near each of our heroes stating why they, too, are Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk Takers and Leaders in our community. It’s one thing to know we have women impacting our community. It becomes an entirely different story for girls when they get to interact with successful women.”
The Girl Scout organization began in 1912 as the vision of Juliette Gordon Low. At a time when women were still unable to vote, Ms. Low, who was 51 years old and nearly deaf, sparked a movement designed to inspire girls. Known as Daisy by her family and friends, Ms. Low gathered 18 girls in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, to teach them about a new outdoor and educational program for youth, an organization that grew into the Girl Scouts. Girls played basketball, they hiked, swam and camped. Ms. Low taught them to tell time using stars and encouraged them to learn foreign languages. In addition to providing girls with skills that had previously only been open to young men, Ms. Low encouraged them to help those in need in order to improve their own community.
“Girl scouting is the premiere leadership organization for girls,” Ms. Antonik explained. “Together, we build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Members experience a variety of new personal challenges in a safe environment, allowing them to learn and grow. We are also girl-led. This means that we help guide the girls through their own decision making. As the girls get older, they begin choosing their own programming through the guidance of their leaders. This better prepares them for adulthood and the world ahead of them.”
Troop activities vary from troop to troop. Last year, troops toured local police and fire stations, served Thanksgiving dinners at the Moose Lodge in Milford and collected items for Code Purple, First State Animal Center and SPCA. They also camped and took road trips. Ms. Antonik said this year is exciting because there are 23 new STEM badges girls can earn that include robotics, coding and engineering. Each year the girls develop entrepreneurial skills through fall sales and the cookie program.
The rally on August 31 is free and girls do not need to be registered to attend. There will be registration paperwork on hand for anyone interested in joining or who need assistance finding a troop. Any registered Girl Scout who brings a friend will be entered for a chance to win a prize. Anyone interested in joining a troop or becoming a volunteer can visit gscb.org/join. They can also email email@example.com. The local service unit covers Milford and Lake Forest School District. Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles, including troop leaders. They also need event volunteers, an auditor and guest speakers. Community members who are interested in sharing talents and careers with scouts are always needed. The organization is also looking for a bilingual volunteer as well as teenage volunteers to help with events and planning other activities.
“Teen volunteers will become a registered Girl Scout,” Ms. Antonik said. “They can earn leadership awards which look great on resumes as they begin thinking about colleges, scholarships and jobs.”
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