08/30/09 — Girl Scouts share experiences with potential 'recruits'

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Girl Scouts share experiences with potential 'recruits'

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 30, 2009 12:26 AM

Although she has a couple guesses, Lillie Thompson isn't sure why enrollment for the Girl Scout troops in the area is "dropping rapidly."

And that was part of the reason for the "Taste of Girl Scouts" program held Saturday in Herman Park -- to tell potential Girl Scouts what a deal the program can be.

The girls and their parents, and a few Girl Scout organizers were on hand at a pavilion near the tennis courts at Herman Park.

"Girl Scouting is still one of the cheapest after school activities," Ms. Thompson said. "It's $12 to join, and then we (can) offer financial assistance with that $12."

Then there are troop dues, about $5 a month, which have helped pay for the girls' trips to Washington D.C. for sight-seeing and for a Girl Scout sing-along, the young members said.

They also went to the Carowinds theme park, an event that no Girl Scout at the event forgot to mention when asked about field trips.

Tomika Cherry said she has three girls in Girl Scouts. The girls are following in her footsteps. She was a Girl Scout as a child, Mrs. Cherry said.

"Girl Scouting is something that affords them a lot of opportunities that they might not otherwise have," Mrs. Cherry said. "We're much more than cookies."

Her husband, Terell Cherry, an Air Force recruiter, helps and encourages.

Another memorable event, the girls said, was a trip to Girl Scout Camp Mary Atkinson, where many of the girls experienced canoeing for the first time.

"They have a big lake. A big, big lake, you can go canoeing and you can go kayaking, paddle boating, they have a pool," said Meadow Lane Elementary student Abigail Game, 9.

The Girl Scouts accept any school-age girl, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Mrs. Cherry said she has watched her oldest, Mikyla, work her way from the status of "Daisy," then "Junior," and finally the highest rank, of "Cadet."

Unfortunately for the organizers, the event didn't seem to draw many people outside of the Girl Scouts participating. However, Heather Miller, Alexis Ford, Abbey Neal, Destiny Craig and Jenny Pate all had positive experiences to relate about working with their respective troops.

Ms. Thompson, one of the Girl Scout organizers, said she wanted to remind people that there were other times to register for the program.

"We recruit all year long," she said.

Among the benefits are improved "character, courage and confidence," buzz words for Girl Scouts, Ms. Thomspon said.

"(Potential Girls Scouts) they'd learn how to present themselves to the public, they'd learn how to lead a group of their peers. They also learn how to work with adults, and children younger than they are, and children older than they are."

For more information on Scouting, call the Coastal Plains Council at 919-782-3021 or 1-800-284-4475 (toll free) or e-mail: council@nccoastalpines.org.