Several high school-age Girl Scout troops in East Lansing are working to serve their community and recently shared with ELi some of the ins and outs of Girl Scouts and what their troops are up to, including working toward the prestigious Gold Award.
Girl Scouts is girl-led, which allows each troop to create goals and activities that best align with their members’ interests and gives each troop its own personality.
A girl can join Girl Scouts at any school age, and at the high school level, girls usually fall into the Senior and Ambassador groups. As Girl Scouts “bridge”, or transition into a new age group, they are welcomed into a new set of badges and journeys that they can complete during their time in that category.
Sophomore Maxine Fritch and another troop member are completing approximately 100 hours of community service each as they work toward earning their Gold Award.
Fritch told ELi that while her troop does sell cookies and donates boxes to an organization like most troops, selling cookies isn’t something they focus on. Instead, Fritch and her troop of seven other girls around her age fundraise for camping trips. She considers her group to be outdoorsy and STEM focused.
With a troop leader who has worked for NASA, Fritch’s troop recently worked on a badge that dissected the science behind makeup products to further understand the details of what girls put on their bodies.
Fritch is one of two girls in her troop working toward their Gold Award – the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. It’s equivalent to a Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout Award and requires a girl to complete 80 to 100 hours of community service, with every hour dedicated to one central project created by that individual Girl Scout.
A Gold Award project is supposed to “help fix a problem in their community or make a lasting change in their world.” Fritch’s Gold Award project was inspired by an activity her troop did together at the beginning 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, something Fritch loves to do in her free time. She has been working on this project since her freshman year in high school and believes she has two more years of work to go before completing it.
The other scout in Fritch’s group working toward her Gold Award is Annie Walton, who has an affinity for the outdoors and is in the process of finalizing a project with East Lansing’s 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 was started last year.
Last year, a Girl Scout troop from Whitehills Elementary School collected enough donations to give a free box of Girl Scout cookies to each member of faculty and staff at East Lansing Public Schools. Davis wants to ensure that not just teachers, but every worker of ELPS, is thanked and cheered up again this year by receiving a free box of Girl Scout cookies.
When asked why she chose to take on this endeavor, Davis told ELi she is doing it because she believes that the teachers and staff in East Lansing’s community have been through so much, and that “cookies make everything better.”
Davis also has plans to run a drive-thru cookie booth on Friday, Feb. 11, Saturday, Feb. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 13, outside Marcos Pizza at the intersection of Lake Lansing and Abbot Roads. She will be accepting donations onsite as well.
Davis is currently contemplating a project for her Gold Award.
Finally, ELi heard from the leader of a troop of 11 ninth grade girls, who have earned their Bronze and Silver Awards through service to their community.
This troop of ninth graders is very creative and love to try interesting things together. Some are interested in STEM and others in the outdoors. The troop members take opportunities to be together, support each other, and try interesting activities in a safe environment where they won’t feel judged.
In elementary school, the troop earned their Bronze Award through an autism awareness project. And, they are finishing up a creative mural inside the Salus Center, Lansing’s LGBTQIA+ Community Center, for the troops’ Silver Award.
Bronze Awards earned in elementary school, and Silver Awards earned in middle school, are group initiatives, while the Gold Award is more individualistic, even though the latter has some group aspects to it.
Since the completion of the girls’ Silver Award project was delayed due to Covid-19, they most likely will not start their Gold Award projects until they have closed out their work with the Salus Center.
This troop also told ELi about World Thinking Day, a day for Girl Scouts around the world to come together to celebrate international friendship and to “stand up for causes that could improve the lives of girls around the globe.”
World Thinking Day is celebrated on Feb. 22 and the high school Girl Scouts of East Lansing are thinking of doing 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 better.