Local Girl Scouts at ELHS work to improve the community

Several school-aged Girl Scout troupes in East Lansing work to serve their community and recently shared with ELi some of the ins and outs of Girl Scouts and what their troops are doing, including in pursuit of winning the prestigious Gold Award.

Girl Scouts is girl-led, allowing each troop to create goals and activities that best suit their members’ interests and giving each troop its own personality.

A girl can join the Girl Scouts at any school age, and at the high school level, girls usually belong to the Senior and Ambassador groups. As a “bridge” or transition to a new age group, Girl Scouts are welcomed into a new set of badges and trips they can take while in this category.

Sophomore Maxine Fritch and another troop member complete around 100 hours of community service each as they strive to earn their gold medal.

Fritch told ELi that although her troop sells cookies and donates boxes to an organization like most troops, selling cookies is not something she focuses on. Instead, Fritch and her posse of seven other girls around her age raise money for camping trips. She considers her group to be outdoors and STEM focused.

Along with a cast leader who worked for NASA, Fritch’s cast recently worked on a badge that dissected the science behind makeup products to better understand the details of what girls put on their bodies.

Fritch is one of two girls in his troupe working on their Gold medal – the highest reward a Girl Scout can earn. This is equivalent to a Scout’s Eagle Scout award and requires a girl to complete 80-100 hours of community service, with each hour dedicated to a core project created by that individual Girl Scout.

A Gold Award project is meant to “help solve a problem in their community or bring lasting change to their world.” Fritch’s Gold Award project was inspired by an activity his troupe did together at the start of Covid-19: a book club.

Fritch is working to create a Girl Scouts Book Club that spans the entire state of Michigan to connect girls through the power of reading, which Fritch enjoys doing in his spare time. She’s been working on this project since her freshman year in high school and thinks she has two more years to go before she finishes it.

The other scout in Fritch’s group working for her Gold Award is Annie Walton, who has an affinity for the outdoors and is finalizing a project with the East Lansing Parks and Recreation Department. Walton’s project is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2023.

Girl Scout Emmerson Davis is working to keep alive a tradition that started last year.

Last year, a Girl Scout troop at Whitehills Elementary School collected enough donations to provide a free box of Girl Scout cookies to every faculty and staff member at East Lansing Public Schools. Davis wants to make sure that not just teachers, but all ELPS workers are thanked and encouraged again this year by receiving a free box of Girl Scout cookies.

When asked why she chose to get into this business, Davis told ELi she did it because she felt the teachers and staff in the East Lansing community had been through so much. and that “cookies make everything better”.

Davis also plans to open a drive-thru cookie stand on Friday, Feb. 11, Saturday, Feb. 12 and Sunday, Feb. 13, outside of Marcos Pizza at the intersection of Lake Lansing and Abbot Roads. She will also be accepting donations on site.

Davis is currently considering a project for his Gold Award.

Finally, ELi heard from the leader of a troupe of 11 ninth grade girls, who earned their bronze and silver medals through service to their community.

This troupe of ninth graders is very creative and likes to try interesting things together. Some are interested in STEM and others in the outdoors. Troop members take advantage of opportunities to be together, support each other and try interesting activities in a safe environment where they will not feel judged.

In elementary school, the troupe earned their bronze award through an autism awareness project. And, they’re finishing a creative mural inside the Salus Center, Lansing’s LGBTQIA+ community center, for the Troops’ Silver Award.

The bronze medals won in elementary school and the silver medals won in middle school are group initiatives, while the gold medal is more individualistic, although the latter has group aspects.

Since the completion of the girls’ Silver Award project has been delayed due to Covid-19, they likely won’t begin their Gold Award projects until they complete their work with the Salus Center.

This troupe also spoke to ELi about World Thinking Daya day when Girl Scouts around the world come together to celebrate international friendship and “advocate for causes that could improve the lives of girls around the world”.

World Thinking Day is celebrated on February 22 and the East Lansing High School Girl Scouts are planning to do an activity to bring all the troops together to remind each of them that while they may be in different troops, they are all Girl Scouts trying to make their world a better place.

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