Girl Scouting helps build character and self-confidence in girls of all ages.

United Way helps Scouts do that by funding community troops for Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines.

“The community troops program allows girls in public housing here to participate in Girl Scouts,” said Terrica Hay, membership initiative executive with the Girl Scouts. “There are three community troops in Fairview, Lincoln Homes and West Haven.”

She said through United Way funding, girls in community troops have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting the same way any other girl in a traditional troop does.

The program helps the girls with expenses, such as membership fees, uniforms, including badges and patches, expenses for troop meetings, such as program supplies and snacks, camp fees and a lot of other activities that the girls want to participate in.

“These three troops function just as a traditional troop would,” Hay said. “The only difference is that they are funded through United Way.”

That means that Girl Scouting takes its programs out to the girls in their community. They may not have transportation to get to a traditional troop meeting, so the United Way program helps.

“We meet them where they are,” Hay said. “The idea is that through these funds, girls have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting that they may not have had before.”

There are currently 85 girls in the three community troops. Ages range from kindergarteners through 12th graders.

“By providing the girls the opportunity to participate, we hope to instill courage, confidence and character in them,” Hay said. “It’s a leadership organization for girls.”

Hay has seen the program change girls’ lives.

“I remember one girl who was having a hard time,” she said. “She had to be with an adult. Now, three years later, she’s one of the girls we call on to help lead other girls. Seeing her grow over the last three years and her ability to focus and show other girls that they need to pay attention, speaks volumes.

“It’s a good reminder why this program is so important.”

Other services that Girl Scouting provides are opportunities for community service projects; to earn badges and through earning badges, learn skills; go on outings; explore science; and a lot more.

“For every type of girl, not matter whether it’s a girl who loves to be outdoors or who loves technology or arts, there are programs for everyone in Girl Scouts,” Hay said.

“One of the things we try to do with the girls, and one that’s a big part of the Girl Scout program, is for the girls to not only learn about themselves and what their values are, but build healthy relationships and work with others. They get to experience things they may not have gotten to experience otherwise.

“And United Way definitely provides these girls that opportunity.”