By Connie Lewis Leonard
On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts over 100 years ago to help girls discover their strengths, passions and talents. The organization now consists of 2.7 million members. In Stephenville, a total of 87 girls participate in Girl Scouts in different age-related troops: Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Today we celebrate the organization that collectively helps individual girls make a difference in the world.
World famous Girl Scout Cookies earnings may be used by troops for donations to a local charity, an adventure, store-related credits, a free week of camp, or travel experiences for trips across the globe. No girls are ever turned away due to lack of resources. Scholarships are available for uniforms and books for every girl who submits a Financial Assistance request.
The girls meet at the Mistletoe Hut for activities, events, programs and computer lab. Stephenville Evening Lions Club donated archery equipment, so the girls can compete in state archery competitions.
Lacey Cook, a Troop Leader to Juniors said, “Being a part of Girl Scouts has impacted the person I am today. Without Girl Scouts I wouldn’t have been able to have the confidence to graduate college, the courage to experience new things, and the character to want to make a positive impact in my community.
“Our unit has helped with several events, including the annual Make-a-Gift event during the holidays where the girls make and wrap gifts for their friends and family. Also, there is the annual He and Me dance in February for girls and an important male figure in their life. On Earth Day, a Cadette girl, Myla Childers, partnered with Tarleton Horticulture Center and Crissa Nugen to host an event about the monarch butterfly as her Silver Award project.”
Kelly Sult, another troop leader, said, “I became a leader with my older daughter’s troop back in 2001. The greatest long-term impact Scouting has had on me is service to the girls and their parents, service to other troops and leaders, and service to our community. We have a passion to make the world a better place and to grow these girls as future leaders!”
Each spring, Erath County Girl Scout Banquet honors and celebrates the girls’ achievements from the past year. They are recognized for earning high awards, such as Bronze Award for Juniors, Silver Award for Cadettes, and Gold Award for Senior/Ambassadors (previously called the Golden Eaglet) and various other awards. They are also recognized for their service to the community and their achievements in product sales. Adult Volunteers are honored and recognized for making the program successful.
At the Awards banquet on May 6th, girls were recognized in all three categories: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Three girls earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, and another girl is currently completing her project. Those who completed their projects and submitted their final paperwork to council by March 15th will be celebrated in Austin on June 11th with a special 100-year anniversary ceremony and luncheon. Less than 5% of Girl Scouts nationwide achieve the level of Gold Award, and no girl has achieved this status in Stephenville since 2007.
The Gold Award girls planned and emceed the Awards Banquet “Follow in Our Footsteps” to show younger girls the importance of staying in scouting. They spoke about perseverance, entrepreneurship, and innovation at the Women of Distinction banquet, which honors five women and a business that have made an impact in their community, to celebrate the power of women who can change the world.
Brittney Culhane said, “Girl scouting has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. It has enabled me to make friendships that will last a lifetime, no matter where we go. I feel I have made the world a better place by being aware of things that need to be done and then taking action to do them.”
For her Gold Award project, Brittney organized a five-hour educational seminar in conjunction with Pets Are Worth Saving’s (PAWS) adoption fair at the grand opening of Pet Supplies Plus to educate the community about their pets. The seminar included a presentation with statistics Brittney gathered from the Erath County Humane Society and local veterinary hospital. The Greens Creek Veterinary Hospital team micro chipped 46 pets, raising almost $700 for the Erath County Humane Society, distributing over 100 informational brochures to attendees.
Avery Misenhimer said, “Girl Scouts will push you to be a better person in public, but especially in private because what you do in private reflects your true character. At times, it can be hard to fulfill all of the high standards this organization expects of you, things like honesty, fairness, strength, and responsibility, but in the end, it doesn’t matter if you slipped up, all that matters is that you realize your mistake and fix it for the next time.”
For Avery’s Gold Award project, she created an educational video over the importance of organ and tissue donation. “I have always been passionate about anatomy and physiology, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that in my Gold Award. Another thing that impacted me was my Aunt Paige, who was only fifteen, who passed away from an ATV accident that crushed her skull. She was on life support for about three days and when it was time to make a decision, my family decided to donate her organs. She ultimately saved eight people and gave someone sight. Girl Scouts is all about helping people, and in my opinion, giving someone life is the best gift of all, so I decided to show people that donation isn’t something to shy away from but embrace.”
Shelby Sult said, “Girl Scouts has taught me how to be a confident leader as well as how to build strong teams. It has taught me all of the values that are dear to me today, such as trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, kindness and courage. Through Girl Scouts I have had many experiences in serving the community, and it has instilled a passion within me for giving back.”
For her Gold Award project, Shelby created an art and photography exhibit at the local Cross Timbers Fine Arts Center in Stephenville that brings awareness to the harmful effects the stress and pressure put on high school students. “Along with the pieces of art, I included a description in the form of an interview conducted with the pictured student, an explanation behind the piece, or statistics regarding the subject of the piece (gathered online from national surveys or from my school-wide survey).
“For students, their understanding of the universality of this problem and knowing that their hardships are being broadcast to the public has helped them feel less alone in the struggle. Parents and teachers realized they need to be more mindful of the stress their teenager/student is experiencing. I additionally taught three free art workshops to SHS students which were based on teaching easy and relaxing techniques for art for beginner-level students.”
The world be a better place if we all followed Girl Scout Law:
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
respect myself and others,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
Photos by Riley Studio