The Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland are preparing for another year full of cookies, fellowship and growing a strong group of female leaders.
As of Sept. 17, seven girls had signed up for Troop 71420 in California, according to Group Leader Alicia Nokes.
"Right now, there are mainly fourth and fifth grade girls in the troop," Nokes said. "There are a lot of different things they work on, badges being one of the top things. The badges are geared toward life skills, cooking and sewing."
Life skills are not the only items the Girl Scouts focus on, Nokes said. Community involvement has been a growing factor the girls have been exposed to, as of late.
"Last year, we worked at the food pantry," Nokes said. "And, we're going to do that again this year. The girls really liked that day.
"This year, we are trying to introduce the community more to the girls, so they can be more active and involved."
Educational skills are also honed, as the Girl Scouts have recently come out with a STEM program. While different troops focus on different sets of activities, Troop 71420 tries to expand more into a little bit of everything.
After all, Nokes said, the troop's activites are based mainly on the interest of the girls.
"There's really a big misnomer that the Girl Scouts don't offer the same things Boy Scouts do, by way of outdoor activities," she said. "I think that's why they're really pushing it this year, to get back to that. It all just depends on the individual troop."
This year, Troop 71420 is going to put a heavy focus on entrepreneurship and meeting with different business leaders in the community. One such business is Arkansas Valley Feathers. Nokes said the girls will be learning how to make their own Mardi Gras masks with kits the Arkansas Valley Feathers will provide to the troop.
For those families who wish to participate in the Girl Scouts, but anticipate financial troubles, Nokes said financial assistance is available.
"The money really shouldn't be an excuse," Nokes said. "We want to make it available for everybody to be a part of, and there are even some insurances that will help pay the cost."
The Girl Scouts boast five key ways the organization has been able to help girls thrive in their everyday world.
They are to:
Develop a strong sense of self.
Display positive values.
Seek challenges and learn from setbacks.
Form and maintain healthy relationships.
Identify and solve problems in the community.
These values must have a stronghold, seeing as 50 percent of female business leaders, 80 percent of female tech leaders and 76 percent of female U.S. Senators were Girl Scouts at one time.
This year, the troop is trying out a new feature. The troop will take an extra 30 minutes, after the original meeting to focus on patriotism. This will be done in conjunction with the Junior American Citizens, through the curriculum of Daughters of the American Revolution.
Then, 30 minutes after meetings on the fourth Thursday of the month will be dedicated to work on religion badges.
"That is an optional thing," Nokes said. "They don't have to stay the last 30 minutes, unless they want to get those badges."
The Girl Scouts offers religion badges that are denomination specific. Each curriculum the badge follows is based on the denomination in question.
Even though the Girl Scouts must start on a local level, their numbers add up to an outstanding national average.
Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland Communications Director Lori Enyart said the membership for GSMH is around 13,000 girls and adults. Nationally, this is part of a membership that amounts to 2.6 million girls and adults.
As far as the most famous entrepreneural feature the Girl Scouts offer, the Moniteau County Service Unit sold 733 boxes of cookies last year. Council-wide, this number was 87,719 cases of Girl Scout cookies.
Anyone interested in joining the ranks of the Girl Scouts, should call 877-312-4764 or visit the website.
On the web: www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org