Off Script: Support your local Girl Scouts

Multi-level Girl Scout Troop 1225 members Beth Autry, Jackelyn Cooper, Reia Cooper, Aubrey Martin, Sophia Bermúdez and Bella Bañuelos sharpened their marketing and communication skills at a Cookie Rally in Davis on Sunday, Jan. 15. (Courtesy photo)

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Some may be surprised to learn that I was never a Girl Scout when I was younger. My leadership skills developed naturally on their own as I bossed around my cousins, directed classmates on what to do in group settings, and finally found a more finesse approach through experience and leadership opportunities through college and adulthood.

I volunteered to be a Troop leader when my middle daughter was in Kindergarten, in 2017, and got a crash course in all things Girl Scouts. I wanted to ensure she had the opportunity to be one, and at the time I was self-employed (pre-Express days).

The pandemic was hard on the Girl Scouts organization in general. When the girls were unable to do anything beyond Zoom meet-ups in 2020, I was worried about how many troops in our local council would make it through. As of the beginning of 2022, only one troop remained active in Winters.

However, by the end of the year, three new Winters troops had started up and a world of potential collaborations and opportunities to bring locally-based activities to our girls opened up. In addition to my multi-level troop of Juniors and Cadettes, two new Daisy troops and a Brownie troop began their journeys.

It wasn’t until this weekend that I was really able to grasp that the come-back was real and I breathed a little easier about it for the first time in a long time. With the official kick-off of Cookie Season on Friday, Jan. 13, three of our troops traveled to Davis for the first Cookie Rally in a few years.

The majority of the girls had never been to one, and are going to be selling cookies for the first time ever this year. It was truly an honor to see all of them participating, giggling and making big plans for their ventures. Even more exciting: watching my middle-school-aged Cadettes engage and interact with a Cadette troop from Woodland.

Middle school is challenging enough, and seeing the fall-out impact of not being in social situations for two years has been startling and a panicky experience. Throwing teenagers who are strangers to each other in a group project setting could seem disastrous. But seeing the two groups be able to work and laugh together — following a quick awkwardness — was uplifting.

It was also exciting to see the first-year Daisies and Brownies look around in awe at all of the older girls in the room and participate in a Friendship Circle with all of them. We’ll all have to work on some of our Girl Scout sing-along songs, but it seems we at least have the arm cross-over down pact.

The icing on top was learning that all of the Troops took advantage of the opportunity to set some goals for what they wanted their cookie businesses to fund. Cookie season goes beyond just earning patches and making sure our community is stocked up on those highly addictive Girl Scout cookies.

With the guidance of troop leader volunteers, the girls — even the Daisies — are introduced to the concept of saving money, making a plan for something they’d like to do, creating a budget and more soft skills that will one day incorporate into real-life skills.

Daisy Troop 744 wants to have an ice cream party and help people in need. Daisy Troop 2744 wants to do some fun things like have a pizza party and go on hiking adventures. Brownie Troop 1933 would like to take a trip to a nearby aquarium. My Juniors and Cadettes want to go camping and horseback riding, in addition to hosting a tea party for the younger Troops and finding new opportunities to give back and support their community.

I hope our community will help to support these young ladies this cookie season, and beyond. If buying cookies isn’t something you’re interested in, please tell a friend about who they can help buy from and even share social media posts about upcoming cookie booths in February and March. And please help to share an encouraging word to let them know they’re doing a great job.

If you have an organization or opportunity where our local Girl Scouts can have an experience or help volunteer, please let us know. All of the troop leaders are working together to give them the best opportunities and first-hand experiences.

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