Dec. 8, 2007 — The number of Girl Scout troops on St. Croix will soon more than double when six are added, according to Anne Golden, director of membership and marketing for St. Croix scouts. And that's a good thing.
Golden said scouting benefits girls in many ways such as building character and self-esteem. Scouting aims to teach values like honesty, fairness, and compassion, and also has its social side. Golden said the girls learn to be friends and become comfortable promoting sisterhood. "They learn to live with each other and look at each others' hearts and minds," Golden said. "They see we are all the same."
Golden said she gets tons of calls from concerned public school workers asking if scouting can help solve problems with girls. Traditionally, the scouts meet at and are organized through schools.
"The girls are ready to join," Golden said. "But we are having a hard time filling the volunteer leadership roles." Golden said only women can fill leadership roles and some are already working two and three jobs, while the ones who can volunteer often don't.
The troops already in place are at Free Will Baptist School, Country Day School, and Juanita Gardine Elementary. Preliminary paperwork has been done to get troops started at Lew Muckle Elementary and St. Mary's School.
The troops are funded primarily by the Girl Scout cookie sales held each spring. The United Way of St. Croix assists with leadership training and such.
In the past, former Sen. Lorraine Berry and other senators appropriated $200,000 for the territory to help with programs, the camp and office needs.
Golden said scouts also get a lot of support from local business. "All I need to do is ask and they give," Golden said. The girls will be working on two new fundraisers in 2008. There will be a magazine subscription and renewal drive and sales of cashews and trail mix.
The proceeds from the cookie sales help pay for projects and activities like camping at Mt. Victory Camp. In the past the girls have taken trips to Coral World on St. Thomas. Golden said some of the girls have never flown on a seaplane or been to St. Thomas. "They love it and they never forget what scouting has done for them," Golden said.
The girls work on conservation badges at places like Columbus Landing and Salt River, where they learn about the environment.
Scouts are currently working on a trade with the St. Croix Pony Club where they will plant niem and mahogany shade trees and in turn learn about caring for horses.
"The troop at Juanita Gardine has a softball team that is doing very well, and we reward them with pizza parties," Golden said.
They frequently have field trips to the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center to get involved with responsible pet care. Troop 300 from Country Day recently did a community service project with donations of clothing and money that they gave to the Light House Mission in Christiansted.
"Even the littlest girls are workers, and busy as bees," Golden said.
Golden said there is some restructuring going on with the St. Croix council. As a result there will be quality programs for girls that haven't been done before. Leaders are starting a Scrabble Club and swimming program. "It's surprising the number of girls that can't swim even though they live on an island," Golden said.
There will be a new office opening up in Orange Grove in the next couple weeks. Golden said one of her goals is to do a major cleanup and repairs at the camp in Estate Hope. In August of 2004 Camp Edith Diaz, named for a founder of scouts in the early '60s on St. Croix, was vandalized. After that it got run down and overgrown with weeds.
Golden added her involvement with scouting has been very memorable. As a child she was a Brownie and a Junior Scout, as was her sister Helen.
Golden said the girl scouts need strong female leaders to look out for them. If anyone has an interest in becoming a leader contact Golden at 719-4757.
"Our role as adults is serious," Golden said. "Our children need us."
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