By Colette Blackmon and Emery Roth
“To build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place,” is the mission of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, in Savannah, Georgia. Ms Low wanted there to be a place where girls and young woman of any race, heritage or social class could come together to help their world, try new things, and learn to be leaders. She succeeded. And this year, 2012, marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting.
One of the troops that blossomed from Girl Scouts of the USA is Troop 3107, right here in southeast Atlanta. Troop 3107 may consist of the girls that come around and sell you Thin Mints every February, but there is a whole lot more going on in this troop.
Ms. Michelle Newcome, along with Ms. Stacy Phillips and Ms. Elizabeth Zappa, founded Troop 3107 almost a decade ago. Ms. Newcome says that she was inspired to start the troop by her grandmother, who was a troop leader for almost 40 years. Ms. Newcome had so much fun being a scout that she wanted her daughter, Telia Garner, to be able to be a Girl Scout, too. She loves how Girl Scouts helps girls learn to be leaders and to love the outdoors.
When Troop 3107 was formed, there were thirteen girls in all, kindergarten through fourth grade. They all started as Brownies, which is one of the six levels of Girl Scouting; (Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors). The Girl Scout troop at Ebenezer Baptist Church served as a mentor to Troop 3107 when it first began. Troop 3107 now has nearly 100 girls, from kindergarten to high school, filling almost every level of Girl Scouts. Ms. Newcome remembers having to talk girls and moms into being scouts and leaders, in contrast to now, with more girls in the community wanting to be scouts every day.
Girl Scouts have many special ceremonies and traditions. Ceremonies, such as the Investiture Ceremony girls participate in when they first join, help connect Girls Scouts to each other and inspire girls to try new directions. Two of the most important traditions of Girl Scouts are “giving service” and “taking action.” Service and action often blend together into one long-lasting effort and form the community service projects that Girl Scout Troop 3107 participates in. Last year the Fifth Grade Junior patrol learned about some of the problems faced by refugees in the city of Atlanta. The Girl Scouts teamed with Refuge Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA) to gather coats for refugees. The girls reorganized the coat closet for RRISA and stocked it with over 500 collected gently used coats and other warm clothing items.
Ms. Elizabeth Carr, who is one of the current lead organizers of Troop 3107, had this to say about the importance of the Girl Scouts. “When Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts 100 years ago she could not vote. Today we have yet to have a woman president in our country but women have come a long, long way. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, was a Girl Scout. So were Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, the first female president of Harvard; and Katie Couric, the first woman to anchor a network evening newscast. Eventually our country will have a female president and I bet she will be a former Girl Scout. My hope is that she will be from Troop 3107!”
Note: Colette and Emery are sixth-grade Cadette Girl Scouts in Troop 3107.
Meet Girl Scout Troop 3107
More from Schools and ChildrenMore posts in Schools and Children »