Girl Scouts celebrate 100 years
Over 80 Girl Scouts from Athens, Sayre, East Smithfield, Ridgebury, and Ulster attended the event where they sang songs about friendship and launched boats the scouts made out of natural items.
The boats are a camp tradition for the Scouts, lit with candles representing their wishes being sent out into the world, according to Troop 40128 and 40524 Leader Janet Christiansen.
She explained Sunday was “Girl Scout Day,” on the official date of the 100th anniversary of the organization, and Monday at 6:45 p.m. was the designated time where all Girl Scouts on the east coast held various events in honor of the centennial.
Christiansen said she has been involved in Girl Scout activities before she was old enough to join as she went with her mother, who was also a troop leader, to Christiansen’s older sisters girl scout events.
She said her favorite part of Girl Scouts is to now pass on the tradition to her own daughters and many other young women throughout the area.
Knowing certain Scouts for many years and seeing them grow, learn, and use the skills troop leaders have taught them is another benefit in Christiansen’s eyes.
“It’s so nice to see that they heard what you’ve said and learned it,” said Christiansen.
The organization’s pledge is “to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.”
Christiansen and fellow Troop Leader Paula Juhola, explained the organization follows their pledge by teaching the Scouts skills such as leadership, first aid, organization, planning, and friendship.
Paula Juhola said in addition to the skills Girl Scouts has taught over the years, it is also changing with the times and is not just teaching camping, but also subjects such as technology, with activities like robot creation and computer skills.
Many of the Scouts help plan events and activities as they get older, said Christiansen, adding that the “ambassadors,” who are generally seniors in high school took it upon themselves to not only plan a cruise for themselves but to earn the funds for the trip.
She added that the Scouts do many service activities as part of earning their badges such as sending cookies to local Troops serving overseas, or troop 0569’s collection of donations for local flood victims.
One of the local ambassador, and winner of the Scouts’ “gold award,” Rachel Juhola said she recently organized a writing group at the Mather Memorial Library as part of earning her gold award, similar to the level of “Eagle Scout” in the boy scouts.
“It’s a lot of work, yes,” said Rachel Juhola of Girl Scouts, “but it’s also very rewarding.”
She added that scouting is fun, allows ya person to bond with the other Scouts, and allows them to help others.
Christiansen noted that one ambassador in Rachel Juhola’s troop said “Girl Scouts is the place where I can be myself.”