Girl Scouts: Community, confidence and cookies
Published 2:23 pm Thursday, March 5, 2020
It’s Girl Scout season. Lora Gilreath with Girl Scout Troop 2573 in Manteo gave The Coastland Times a rundown of what the troop has been up to so far this school season as they gear up to make some cookie sales around town.
Gilreath, who participated in Girl Scouts through college, has a daughter in the troop now and is actively involved with Troop 2573. She described some of the activities her troop does to earn badges and work their way up in the rankings as a girl scout.
The girls had spent a night in the Elizabethan Gardens to earn their eco-camper and animal habitat badge and went to Fort Raleigh to work on landscaping skills. They also enjoyed dinner at Avenue Grille to work on their social butterfly badge, which included a portion on social etiquette.
“It’s important for the girls to work on these things because you have to know how to do things the right way,” Gilreath said. For example, she mentioned how the girls could be asked to serve as a flower girl in a wedding and need to know how to eat, sit, introduce themselves, etc.
Gilreath is also the community outreach coordinator for the Kill Devil Hills Police Department. The department hosted an event for the Girl Scouts so that they could earn their detective badges. “We had juniors and cadets come in,” Gilreath said.
Police officers brought their K-9 crews in for a presentation and had the girls work on their observational skills through blood splatter labs and finger printing. “Each girl was sent home with an ID kit after they all got fingerprinted,” Gilreath mentioned. After a sleep over, the girls woke up the following day and took on a “crime scene” of their own using the skills they had learned.
Through these activities, the girls not only work towards their badges, but they also grow and learn through one another what life is all about. “It’s interesting to really see how they’re all different,” Gilreath started, “but when they’re there, they all get along and they all mesh well and you can tell that they’re all fairly bonded with that [the Girl Scouts].”
Gilreath has worked with her troop since they were in kindergarten and said she has seen many of them grow in wonderful ways: “There is one girl who in the beginning would not talk or do anything. She really is probably the leader of the group now. If we ask for somebody to stand up and talk about something, she will.”
Troops usually meet once a week. Even though troops from different towns do not always participate in the same events, there are several days where they all get together. One in particular is known as “Thinking Day.”
“Thinking Day is a day where girls can sit back and reflect on girl guides across the world,” Gilreath said. The scouts will research different countries and create a poster on that area while providing snacks that reflect the country of choice.
On Thinking Day, scouts gather and receive a “passport” which gets stamped once they visit and learn about another country that is presented. Gilreath said this day is great for the girls because it exposes them to other cultures, ideas and those that make a difference around the world.
Putting their hard-earned badges to work in the real world comes with a sweet treat for the girl scouts. They can now be seen at local grocery stores and markets selling the delicious cookies that everyone knows and loves.
Gilreath said the girls work with their troop leaders ahead of time by role-playing and training on how to sell. She mentioned that the scouts learn how to respond when customers are not interested in buying cookies and are urged to find out why. “We want to know whether it is because of dietary restrictions or something else.” Gilreath said the troop is always working on making themselves better to accommodate their customers.
Overall, Gilreath has always felt that the girl scouts promote strong young ladies. The scouts learn how to depend on each other but also understand boundaries and learn the basics of how to survive on their own.
“I see a lot of confidence from our girls,” Gilreath said. Troop 2603 sold cookies at Belk in Kill Devil Hills on Feb. 29. Troop member Hailey Farrenkopf said she wanted to become a Girl Scout because they help the environment. “We go on beach clean-ups a lot,” she said.
Katie Hamilton, a troop leader with Troop 2603, said she is still friends with the girls she was with in Girl Scouts. “[My Girl Scout leader] was still very active with girl scouts in Virginia,” Hamilton said. “We actually got to camp with her a couple times.” Hamilton said it was great to be a Girl Scout with her as a kid and then again as an adult.
To learn more about the Girl Scouts of North Carolina and Virginia, visit www.gsccc.org.