>>Click to view more photos
By: Abby Griffiths
Everyone has a dream destination, and for Girl Scout Troop 90570 it was to travel to Europe – a goal they set back in 2007. Troop Leader Kelly Gombert and her seven Senior and Ambassador troop members were motivated to remain in Girl Scouting so they could travel abroad together after the girls’ senior year in high school. The girls spent the past six years developing strong friendships while working together and planning for the trip, which has now come to fruition. On July 8, 2013, the girls experienced one of the most exciting feelings in the world as they flew across the Atlantic Ocean and stepped off an airplane in a different country.
“Every girl deserves the chance to see the world,” said Girl Scouts of North East Ohio Chief Executive Officer Jane Christyson. “Girl Scouts offers many different opportunities for girls to see new places, meet new people, and learn about different cultures and ideas.”
Troop 90570 earned money for their trip by selling Girl Scout Cookies, magazines and snacks. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a fun way for Girl Scouts of all ages to earn money that fuels girl-led initiatives, including travel opportunities. In fact, the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country which prepares girls for their future by developing goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. In addition to the council-sponsored product sales, the girls held car washes, homemade jewelry sales and refreshment stands to earn money for their adventure abroad.
During their nine day stay, Troop 90570 made their way through the sights of London, Paris, and Rome. The girls went shopping, tried unique cuisine (escargot!), traveled on the Metro, and even slept on a train!
While overseas another life changing event occurred: Three of the Girl Scouts bridged from Ambassador to Adult Girl Scout members at Pax Lodge in London, one of the four world centers of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout’s life. It’s a defining moment when a girl becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities.
“Bridging at this level can be very emotional because it marks the culmination of a girl’s years of experiences with her sister scouts,” said Christyson. “It is a time to embrace what you’ve learned in Girl Scouting, honor how it will forever be a part of who you are, and step into the world as a young woman of courage, confidence, and character.”
Gombert, a Girl Scout leader for 14 years, said of the experience, “At 11 and 12 years old, these girls were ready to have a huge, almost impossible goal to shoot for. The troop stepped up, met the fundraising goals, took on leadership roles in various projects, gave back to other Girl Scouts by providing camping opportunities and hosting the Mother/Daughter dance, and they spent time together as friends. Through this experience, I’m convinced that young women need to be challenged, really challenged and have something significant to strive for.”
About the Girl Scout program
The Girl Scout program—that is, what girls do in Girl Scouting—offers incredible opportunities for girls to grow in their leadership skills, develop lifelong friendships, and earn awards along each step of their leadership journeys, no matter what their grade levels, experiences with Girl Scouting, or background.
The Girl Scout program is centered on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), and the best way to deliver the GSLE to girls is through Journeys—powerful, fun, and exciting books and awards that are the core of the Girl Scout program.
Of course, earning and collecting a variety of badges, patches, and pins is also an important Girl Scout tradition that lives on, because doing so encourages girls to learn and demonstrate important skills.
And Girl Scout ceremonies and songs continue to link girls with not only with their Girl Scout peers today but also with the many Girl Scouts who came before them.