Girl Scouts - fun that most families can afford

By Staff Report

August 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Girl Scouts in the St. Charles Parish plant a butterfly garden along the nature walk at Monsanto.
Girl Scouts in the St. Charles Parish plant a butterfly garden along the nature walk at Monsanto.
As more and more families are forced to reduce their expenses in this tough economy, they struggle with deciding which activities they can afford for their children. Dance, sports, and other extra-curricular activities can take a toll on their shrinking pocketbooks.

The local Girl Scout council, which has weathered multiple recessions as well as the Great Depression in its organization's 97-year history, says they're an affordable option for families stretched thin by a shrinking budget.

“Getting your daughter involved in Girl Scouting is one positive and affordable avenue families can take in providing their daughters with a variety of fun and age-appropriate activities,” said Anita McField, a regional membership director at Girl Scouts Louisiana East.

“Annual membership in Girl Scouts is only $12, and some favorite activities include camping, travel, health and fitness, the arts, science and technology, community service, and much more.” She said the council will not turn away any girl who cannot afford the annual membership fee, and guides its local troops on becoming financially self-sufficient. “Girl Scout troops are encouraged to participate in both the council's cookie and fall product sales, so the troop can fund any field trips and other activities the girls select, and not provide an additional financial burden to parents,” said McField. While uniforms are encouraged, many troops opt for T-shirts and a sash or vest for placement of badges and pins.

According to McField, the mission of Girl Scouting is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girls learn leadership skills as they discover new interests and explore the world around them, connect with others in a nurturing, girls-only environment, and take action in their communities through community service and other projects. This year, a special emphasis is being placed on girls using their leadership skills for the good of the earth, as the council launches a “Forever Green” initiative and offers a new set of Journey “It's Your Planet-Love It” books for all age levels.

The Girl Scout program age levels are: Girl Scout Daisy-Kindergarten & first grade; Girl Scout Brownie-grades 2-3; Girl Scout Junior-grades 4-5; Girl Scout Cadette-grades 6-8; Girl Scout Senior-grades 9-10, and Girl Scout Ambassador-grades 11-12.

Since Girl Scouts is an organization that relies on adult volunteers, it's critical that each troop have a sufficient number of adults willing to help. However, McField stressed that there are many ways to volunteer for the Girl Scouts, in addition to serving as a troop leader or assistant leader.

As the new school year rapidly approaches, Girl Scouts are recruiting adult volunteers and registering girls for newly forming troops throughout southeast Louisiana.

Free training and support is provided by council staff and local, experienced volunteers, and the annual membership fee of $12 for adults and girls covers the cost of insurance, program development, and other services of the national organization.

None of the membership fee is retained by the local council, which provides its services through contributions, grants, and other money-earning and funding activities.

For more information about joining Girl Scouts in southeast Louisiana, call the council office in New Orleans at (504) 733-8220, in Baton Rouge at (225) 927-8946, or visit its website at www.gsle.org.




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