This post is sponsored by the Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri.
To join, visit them online.
When I was growing up in the 1980s, youth sports wasn’t nearly as huge and time-consuming as it is today. We did one sport each season, with only one practice each week and a game on Saturday. This left time for me to be involved in other organizations, ones that fostered empowering girls and exposing them to new experiences.
Full disclosure: I was not part of the Girl Scouts when I was a kid. I chose another organization to be with my friends, and while I did enjoy it, I secretly always wished I’d joined the Girl Scouts! There seemed to be more ways to earn badges, and therefore more activities to choose from. And the cookies! Who didn’t want to sell Girl Scout cookies?! So I vowed if I were to have a girl someday, I’d get her involved in the Girl Scouts.
Leaping ahead to 2016, I had a kindergarten daughter, and I quickly enrolled Emma in her school’s Daisy troop. Our troop was huge with 17 girls! We had two amazing troop leaders who arranged monthly meetings and adventures for the girls. I was so impressed with all the organizations that welcomed our troop, and planned meaningful presentations for them. One of the earlier meetings was with a local animal shelter where the girls were taught how to safely interact with pets. They also made chew toys for the dogs at the shelter. This propelled girls in the troop to ask birthday party guests to bring gifts for the shelter, instead of for themselves.
Another troop meeting had the girls packaging meals for a homeless shelter and learning how to make sleeping mats out of plastic grocery bags. My daughter still talks about it.
Along with being in a similar organization to the Girl Scouts, I also grew up going to summer camp. This was such an important part of my childhood, and I knew I wanted this for my daughter as well. When she was old enough, she did Twilight Camp, which was camp from late afternoon until just before sunset. She learned campfire safety and recipes, how to fish, and about animals native to our area. She made crafts, sang songs and loved all of it! We made a sit-upons together – something I’d remembered other Girl Scouts making when I was a kid!
She is now in fifth grade, and troop meetings are starting again. What Emma looks forward to each year is just the chance to learn something new! This year, there are plans for horseback riding, health and wellness presentations, and coding. She is being exposed to experiences that may not have been possible without the Girl Scouts to be that link. Even during COVID, she was able to participate in and earn badges from online meetings.
I’m so proud of the new things she’s tried, and the interests she’s gained through her participation in the Girl Scouts. Her taste in other activities, such as dance and gymnastics, may have changed. But her enjoyment of the Girl Scouts hasn’t.