Archive for Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Girl Scouts celebrate anniversary

March 20, 2002

Tonganoxie Girl Scouts celebrated the 90th birthday of scouting on March 10 at the Tonganoxie Historical Site.

Melissa Ostermeyer, a troop leader and publicity chairperson for Service Unit 664, which includes Piper, Basehor, Linwood and Tonganoxie, said 98 Girl Scouts, family and friends attended the celebration which was organized by her troop of seven Girl Scouts.

Featured speaker at the event was Duana Dralus, president of the Mid-Continent Council of Girl Scouts. Dralus spoke about "It's Not Just Cookies Anymore."

Tonganoxie Girl Scouts make up 11 of the 27 troops in the service unit's area. The girls' goals range from beginning badges to advanced medals. Once the girls start in the cadet group, which includes girls in seventh through ninth grades, they begin working toward earning their silver medal. This is the second-highest Girl Scout medal, with only the gold being above it, Ostermeyer said.

Five of the six Girl Scouts in Donna Higbee's troop recently completed requirements for the silver badge, which they received on March 3. And the sixth Girl Scout, Higbee said, is close to receiving her silver badge.

Ostermeyer, who has been leader of her troop since the girls started Brownies in the first grade, said her girls are beginning the work toward their silver award, which consists of five steps. A scout must complete requirements for three badges in a project in her area of interest. And, they complete a service project and a career education project in the same area.

The girls also have to earn their leadership award, which means they complete 25 hours of community service and visit meetings of at least two different community groups.

"My girls, by the time they have finished, will have worked one and a half years," Ostermeyer said. "As a leader it's important to keep all of the girls at the same pace because that way nobody gets left behind, and it's easier to keep track of who has what projects finished," she added.

Her goal is for the girls to complete their badges at the same time. And then, the girls will work to fulfill their long-time dream.

"When they were in the first grade I told them if they stayed together and got their silver, we'd take them to Hawaii," Ostermeyer said. "That's our goal in about five years, we're going."

Higbee's troop has travel plans, too.

The girls have funding in line to pay for a June 5-9 trip to Washington, D.C., where they will participate in the 90th birthday celebration in a Girl Scouts national sing-along. For some of the girls, it will be their first trip in an airplane. Higbee said that so far the six troop members have raised $2,700, enough to cover for plane fare and hotel accommodations.

And, like Ostermeyer's troop, the girls have long worked together.

Higbee has been troop leader since some of the girls were in kindergarten.

Currently, a display on scouting, "Scouts Then and Now," is on display at the Tonganoxie City Library. This was put together by the younger Girl Scouts and Brownies.

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