by Kathleen Reynolds
girl scout Promise On my honor, I will try:
To serve God* and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
*Members may substitute for the word God and/or country in accordance with their own beliefs. For example, they could substitute that line to say, “To serve my community.”
girl scout FAMILY Promise On my honor, I will try:
To support my Girl Scout and her troop, To help girls lead at all times, And to always keep it fun!
girl scout LAW I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
Do you know about the Girl Scouts of America? I did, having started with the Brownies in Kindergarten (it was 1959 and if you don’t think it’s hard to spell “Eisenhower” before the first grade, think again). I got my wings and “flew up” to Juniors around the third grade. While those designations have changed, that’s just the start of the new Girl Scouts. Oh, and they do more than sell cookies.
Today’s Girl Scouts are aware of and work towards diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. According to the Girl Scouts Northern California website, gsnorcal.org, they believe in building an antiracist future. They strive to make sure everyone is represented, seeing that everyone has what they need to participate and that everyone feels safe speaking and being heard. In short, they do this by asking, “Does everyone feel accepted even when we do not always agree? Can everyone share their differences openly, without judgment or defensiveness, while focusing on our connections?”
In the Napa area, we have 11 active troops, with over 150 Girl Scouts. Amy Herzog is a Leader in Napa Troop 11025. The troop started in 2016, with the Napa Methodist Church as the founding charter organization, providing meeting space and volunteer troop liaisons.
“We have 30 troop members,” says Amy, who was part of the group who began the club. “We have co-leaders, several for the multiple levels in the troop.”
The different groups go by grade level. Daisies are K-1, Brownies grades 2-3, Juniors grades 4-5, Cadettes grades 6-8, Seniors grades 9-10 and Ambassadors grades 11-12. As a Girl Scout progresses, every level builds upon the last, so they can explore meaningful interests in an age-appropriate way.
“Our troop and other local troops help the community through cookie donations to the Food Bank, when people buy an extra box or more to donate,” says Amy. “We have helped with Operation Love from Home packages, river cleanup, and creating toys and blankets for the Animal shelter. Pre-COVID, we joined other troops in singing Christmas carols to residents of the Veteran’s Home in Yountville.”
“We also participate in the overnight Girl Scout Camporee. That used to be held at the campground on Mt. Veeder, which unfortunately burned down in the fires there. Lately it’s been held at various locations including Skyline Park or the campgrounds at Lake Berryessa.”
Troop 11025 strives to continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.
Katherine Fleming is the Service Unit Coordinator for the Napa area. She explains the governance of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America is run by Councils, and each Council is made up of Service Units. The Service Units in our region are part of the Girl Scouts of Northern California Council. The Girl Scout council is the organization which receives non-profit status.
“At our Napa Service Unit level, we emphasize helping with Operation Love From Home and laying flags on Memorial Day at the Veterans Home. Girl Scouts from our Service Unit acted as the Honor Guard for the City of Napa’s Fourth of July Celebration as well.”
“Each troop decides on the goals they want to pursue, badges they want to earn, and service work they will perform. The members decide on activities and how they will use the money they earn from selling cookies.”
“This year the cookie sales proceeds were fantastic; the Girl Scouts put a lot of work into it and it pays off. Between 15-20 older (6th-12th grade) local Napa Girl Scouts will take the trip of a lifetime to go to the Galapagos Islands funded partially by cookie sales and sales of other products in the fall to bring down the cost.”
There is a common misconception.
“Some people think the Girl Scouts just do a lot of arts and crafts. Our members do love being creative but that also ties into exploring engineering, robotics, camping and other adventures. Girl Scouts gives them a safe space to explore.”
The NorCal website cites the reasons to join Girl Scouts as 1) to have fun, 2) make friends, 3) try new things, 4) use your voice and 5) make the world a better place. Having fun means having a place to be yourself with people who will cheer you on. Girl Scouts make friends through joining a troop, going to summer camp or participating in a service project to meet people from their neighborhood, community and nearby schools. They are encouraged to try new adventures with a friend or the troop.
The site suggests giving back to the community by restocking the local food pantry, beautifying the school grounds or lobbying for change at a City Council meeting.
“We have a recruitment event in the fall, usually in September at Kennedy Park,” says Katherine. “Otherwise, there is enrollment information on the Northern California Girl Scout website at gsnorcal.org.”
To join a local group is simple and financial aid is available. Membership dues are $40 per year for children and $25 a year for adults. Need-based aid is available to help with membership dues, adult membership registration and background checks and uniforms.