Although the Boy Scouts often receive attention for large and very visible projects, the Girl Scouts often serve in quieter but just as important ways.
“I joined Girl Scouts because I felt like I could lead and achieve and serve others kind of like in Beta Club,” said Elkin sixth-grader Emma Golden of Troop 02603, “like the Silver Project.
“It’s a project you do to make the world a better place.”
“As a cadet, you work on a silver award and you have to have so many hours of work,” said Elkin seventh-grader Grace Harrison.
Harrison and fellow Cadet Raven Poindexter are working together on their Silver project.
“We’re going to do a book sale with gently used books in the summer during the hundred-mile yard sale,” said Harrison, explaining the money will go to the local library, although she is also interested in helping with the trails.
The girls previously worked together on a Bronze project.
“For Bronze, we had to have so many hours, but not as many as the Silver,” said Harrison, “and we went to the nursing home and played Bingo with the older people and then we raise money and food and different things for the animal shelter.”
While Troop 02603 worked on organizing its next project, Troop 41767 was completing its current one.
Assisting Amber Arnder in a project for a class at East Carolina University, Troop 41767 gathered at the Girl Scout Hut to stuff gift bags.
The hut located on Memorial Park Drive was not only the location for the troop’s weekly meeting but ideal for creating the gifts of hope for women staying in the Antipartum Unit at Forsyth Medical Center.
“This is a hall that houses women who are battling high-risk pregnancy complications like preterm labor, preeclampsia, premature rupture of the membranes, multiple pregnancy, et cetera,” said Arnder.
“These women are often admitted for weeks, or even months at a time. They are forced to leave their jobs, they are separated from their families and limited to strict bed rest. Women often become very sad or depressed while on this unit as their whole lives have had to change for the sake of their unborn babies health.”
Although Arnder’s objective was to create 20 gifts of personal care, activities and other items to help recipients “feel like a woman instead of just a hospital patient,” the Troop was able to more than double the goal.
According to troop leader Carrie Vestal, 42 bags were put together by the girls.
These projects are a small part of the learning experiences Girl Scouts have, with many members appreciating the skills they learn through their popular cookie sales.
“I like selling cookies because it teaches me skills on how to talk to strangers,” said Poindexter.
“It’s fun selling them and seeing all the different kinds of people that you can sell to,” said Elkin sixth-grader Abby Thomas of Troop 02603, “and I always enjoy going to cookie booths because you get to go to different stores and sell cookies there.”
“Selling cookies kind of gives you a learning resource to learn how to count and handle being a cashier and responsibility,” said Golden, “because you have to keep up with the cookies and amount of money.”
As a girl-led organization, the Girl Scouts uses the various projects as a way to instill a variety of skills and characteristics in participants, including self-assurance and establishing healthy relationships as well as community involvement.
“I participate in Girl Scouts because I get to be with lots of really nice people and I really enjoy going on trips together as a troop,” said Poindexter.
“The fun activities we do and helping other people,” is what appeals to Golden.
“When I was little I went over to a friend’s house and she had been in Girl Scouts,” said Thomas, “and it looked like a really fun activity that involved helping others and going on fun trips with the troop.”
To find out more about what participants learn through Girl Scouts, go to http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/the-girl-scout-difference.html.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.