FULTON, NY – For more than 100 years it has been the Girl Scouts’ mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who will make the world a better place and local Cadette Troop 101 is rising to that ideal.
Most of the girls in Troop 101 have been together in scouting since they were kindergarteners. Now in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, they are fast friends and a tight-knit team.
OswegoCountyToday.com had the opportunity to talk with the girls of Troop 101 recently and troop member Allie summed up the feelings of her mates when she said, “It feels like having a big friendship with all my friends, it goes on forever and it feels great. I just want it to keep going.”
Each of the 10 troop members has already set her own personal future goals and through Girl Scout experiences is learning how to reach them. The pathway in Girl Scouts has always been for the girls to select their own focus and choose badges and awards to work on as individuals and a team to pursue those goals.
Girl Scouts in the 1920s could earn more than 25 badges, including the child nurse badge.
Today, the Cadettes alone can earn more than 28 including topics such as public speaker, digital movie maker, woodworker, special agent, animal helper, first aid and entrepreneur. There are also badges in financial literacy which include budgeting and comparison shopping.
Each Cadette badge falls within one of three journeys: amaze, breathe and media.
There are as many badges in each of the younger scouting levels of Daisy, Brownie and Junior, and the older ages of Senior and Ambassador.
There is also a Girl Scout concentration in science, technology, engineering and math that not only faces the challenge of learning in related fields, but the social aspects that sometimes hinders a girl’s confidence.
“Even when a girl has an interest in STEM, she might find that boys take the lead in a school environment due to unspoken assumptions about gender roles. Girl Scouts offers a safe, supportive place for girls to seek challenges,” according to GirlScouts.org
And then, there’s the cookies.
According to Girl Scout history, Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of its girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917.
Today, there are cookie business badges which teach financial business skills, marketing, and how to plan big projects.
Locally, Girl Scouts began taking cookie orders on Saturday and will continue through Feb. 7. Troop 101 hopes to sell 5,000 boxes.
For their big project plan the troop is saving to take a trip to Walt Disney World.
“We’ve been taking all our cookie money that we sold and saving it so we can afford the trip,” one scout explained. The girls quickly noted this is not the first trip they’ve planned.
They’ve already been to Boston and visited Paul Revere House, Plymouth Plantation and gone whale watching.
They’ve been to Washington, D.C. where they had the chance to see the monuments and visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
The troop also visited the land of wild horses: Assateague Island in Maryland.
In addition to funding their cool trips, Troop 101 Cadette Meghan said that being in Girl Scouts and participating in sale of cookies has helped her learn some real life skills.
“Personally, I learned how to make goals and achieve them easily, and how to count money back the right way,” she said.
Cadette Shelby added, “Teamwork and, like Meghan said, setting goal and achieve them. … Some of us have problems in one way or another and each girl will help. Sometimes counting how many boxes (of cookies you need) you have trouble.”
Sheyenne, who said she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, is learning how to be prepared, organized, on time, along with better adding and subtracting skills.
Ally would like to be a veterinarian when she gets older and learning how to build teams will really help.
“What I’ve learned from Girl Scouts is that helping each other, when I am a vet, I will have people help me with the animals,” she said.
Kylie noted, “Selling cookies helps me with making new friends with people who I will work with.”
Savannah wants to be a doctor and Victoria wants to be an animal rehabilitator. “Helping in the community, teamwork and math skills” are some of the things scouts is reinforcing for them.
Sierra wants to be baker. “I want to just bake all day long,” she said.
Cadette Maddie said she plans to be a nurse-practitioner and learning skills by selling cookies is going to help her.
“When you’re a nurse you have to be prepared in any situation,” she said. “You have to do a lot of math in your head. If someone wants to buy five boxes of cookies, you have to know how much they need to pay you.”
Maddie’s troop leader noted that the Cadette was invited to the annual Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) seminar. The youngest speaker on the panel, Maddie was asked, “If you could tell all these entrepreneurs one thing, what would you tell them?”
“Buy more cookies!” Maddie said.
But it’s not all about planning trips and selling cookies. The girls explained that they are also working toward their Silver Award. Unlike the Bronze Award when the group works together as a team, to earn the Silver Award – the highest award you can earn as a Cadette, you work in separate groups.
“We’re doing fundraising for cancer, the homeless and senior citizens,” troop member Kylie said.
The troop’s leader added, “Although the girls are working in small groups in each of their concentrations, they are also working together as a team to earn the award.”
The troop is holding a spaghetti dinner at the Fulton Elks Club on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 4-7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door and are $8 for adults and $4 for children.
Final cookie orders can also be placed at that time. Cookies will be delivered in mid-March. Troop 101 plans to be in Disney in April.