Girl Scouts design community projects

Rose Conry

With five older brothers and an older sister already working their way up the ranks of the scouting world through fundraising, earning bagdes, and volunteering, Katie Bauer joined her elemantary school’s Daisy troop in kindergarten. Although 30 or so girls in her troop dropped out to pursue another activity around fourth or fifth grade, reducing the size of her troop to only three girls for a time, Bauer continued her participation in scouts.

Serving Community

In order to earn her Gold Award, the highest Girl Scout honor, Bauer organized and completed a community service project to raise awareness for diabetes. “A lot of my family has diabetes, so it’s personal to me,” said Bauer.

To receive this award, eligible scouts must spend a minimum of 60 hours working on their service project. Bauer surpassed this requirement, spending well over 100 hours just planning and preparing for her project. “I spent hours and hours sitting in committee meetings with the ADA (American Diabetes Association),” said Bauer. Other responsibilities included recruiting volunteers and creating fliers.

Comprised of two separate events, Bauer’s service project aimed to stress the importance of staying active to individuals with diabetes. At the Walk for Diabetes, Bauer set up two informational rest stops, creatively-themed “Traveling Around the World with Diabetes.” For the first stop, Bauer stuck to Grecian decoration, and she designed the second to represent Chinese culture. At both of them, Bauer passed out coloring sheets and quizzes that taught participants more about diabetes.

While the rest stops targeted children, Bauer directed the second part of the project to members of older generations suffering from diabetes. Along with another member of her troop, Bauer created an exercise dance routine called “Everyday Boogie” to urge these individuals to exercise while doing chores and other daily activities. They performed the routine several times at the Diabetes Expo at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Along with spreading knowledge to others, Girl Scouts has enabled Bauer develop important skills. “It really helps with leadership, specifically public speaking, since it creates an environment where you aren’t going to be made fun of,” said Bauer.

Offering Opportunities
In addition to aiding in the development of these skills, Girl Scouts fosters friendships. At the two Girl Scout Jamborees Bauer attended at St. Olaf College, she began friendships with girls from across the country. “It was neat because I got the chance meet people from Florida and Texas,” said Bauer.

Besides meeting people from different states, Girl Scouts has also provided the opportunity for Bauer to travel. At the beginning of ninth grade, she traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for to as one of reprensentatives from Minnesota at National Girl Scout Confenvention. “We spent a week in Georgia. After the conference, we traveled to Savannah, the birthplace of Girl Scouts,” said Bauer. After graduating in June, Bauer plans on embarking on a another trip with her fellow Girl Scouts; she intends to spend two-weeks traveling on bus across Europe.

Although Bauer has pursued many new learning opportunities while in scouts, she has also been able to maintain close ties with childhood friends through the program. Troop meetings allow Bauer to stay in touch with elementary school classmates that attend different high schools now, as well as maintain a strong friendship with fellow BSM student, senior Carly Bjorgan.

Returnign to Scouts
Both Bjorgan and Bauer earned their Gold Awards a little less than a year ago, but unlike Bauer, Bjorgan spent time away from the world of scouting. After quitting Girls Scouts in fourth grade due to commitments to softball, basketball and soccer teams, Bjorgan, persuaded by her friend Bauer, returned to scouts the summer before entering her freshmen year of high school. “I rejoined to hang out with friends, but it is rewarding emotionally. You’re having fun, but you’re also doing good,” said Bjorgan.

In addition to being active in her own troop, Bjorgan leads a group of Daisy Scouts at Meadowbrook Elementary School. Meeting once a month, Bjorgan leads these first-graders in various activities that aim to teach them virtues, such as confidence and friendliness. Recently, they made brownies; future activities planned include creating sock puppets and practicing yoga. Although she appreciates the opportunity to act as a role model for the Daisies, she also enjoys just participating in the activities. “They’re simple but fun. They bring you back to your childhood,” said Bjorgan.

For her Gold Award service project, cleverly titled “Stroke of Love,” Bjorgan focused on raising awareness for strokes. “Before Valentine’s Day, I presented information on brain strokes and their symptoms to fourth graders. We gave them packets to take home and share with their family members.”

Bjorgan treasured this opportunity to pass along knowledge to younger students in a formal setting, but she continues to take advantage of other opportunities to educate her own classmates and others individuals she meets. “I still like sharing the information I learned with others,” she said.