| Messenger photo by Whitney Wilson Coy
Girl Scout Aliyah Faust, 5, learns how to make an ice cream cone during a trip to the Westland Dairy Queen on West Broad Street. During this trip, the girls learned about running a business and spent time recruiting more Girl Scouts members and leaders.
The Girl Scouts of Columbus are looking for a few good girls and the adults needed to lead them.
The Girl Scout Program is designed to provide young girls with opportunities to grow, learn, develop values and skills and be social.
The program is the world’s leading organization dedicated completely to girls. Millions of girls and women around the world have grown up reciting the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law.
Unfortunately, not every girl who wants to be a part of the Girl Scouts is able to.
Due to a dwindling resource of adult volunteers, the organization is not able to create the number of troops needed to accommodate all of the girls who wish to be a part of the program. Some girls who sign up are put on a waiting list.
“We really need leaders so more girls can join,” said Shawna Gibbs, Public Relations Manager for Girl Scouts – Seal of Ohio.
According to Gibbs, the Westland Service Unit, which is the unit serving the Westside of Columbus, has 295 girls registered as members of the Girl Scouts. Those girls make up 30 local troops, and only 52 adult volunteers serve those troops.
To become a leader, volunteers must first fill out an application. The Girls Scouts administration then completes a background check and reviews references. A 30-minute online orientation is followed by a chance to meet with trained volunteers in the area. They then have one year to complete the appropriate age-level training.
“Our leaders are well trained,” said Becky Scott, a field executive for Girl Scouts.
While there is no cost for training, there is a minimal cost for supplies and books. Training is specialized fields, such as first aid and outdoor activities such as overnight camping, canoeing, archery and horseback riding, also carries an extra cost.
Leaders are required to give an estimated 10 hours (minimum) of their time per month, according to Gibbs. This includes troop meetings one to two times each month as well as time needed for preparation and extra activities with the girls.
Troops should have at least two leaders, according to Gibbs, but it is not uncommon for a group of four or five people to share the responsibility.
A mostly volunteer-based organization, the Girl Scouts – Seal of Ohio is 96 percent staffed by volunteers. Aside from troop leaders, volunteers are also needed as trainers, program consultants, day camp volunteers, fund raisers and many other positions.
Volunteer positions are open to women, men, single person, parents, college students, older adults and anyone wanting to give some of their time.
Anyone wishing to sign up or looking for more information about being a volunteer should call the leadership development office at 614-487-8101.
The Girl Scouts begin recruiting girls with the beginning of the school year, at the end of September, and continue throughout the year – as long as there is space available in existing troops.
The cost to register is $10 per year.
There are five age levels withing the Girl Scouts: Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior troops.
A Juliette membership is an individual membership granted to girls who wish to be a part of the Girl Scouts, but due to scheduling conflicts or other issues cannot participate in troop activities.
Any girl aged five and over is eligible.
Any parent or guardian who wishes to sign their child up for Girl Scouts should e-mail Christina Faust at Christinaafaust@yahoo.com.