Today, March 12, is the 105th birthday of Girl Scouts. On this day in 1912, Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low founded the first Girl Scout troop by bringing together 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia for friendship, empowerment, and leadership.
Milbank Girl Scout troops are funded in part by Grant County Combined Appeal, but they also earn money by selling Girl Scout nuts and cookies. “This year, the girls sold 9,000 cans of nuts – the first grade troop sold 6,000 of those,” said Amy Eilers service unit manager for the local scouts. Cookie sales topped 6,000 boxes this year – 6,541 were sold. “We doubled our sales from last year, which is awesome,” stated cookie sales organizer Hillary Dexter. The top three sellers were Jacy Dexter with 881 boxes, Tarah Thyne with 360 boxes, and Annabelle Schwenn and Sophia Schmidt with 346 boxes each.
Nearly 50 girls joined Girl Scouts in Milbank this year. Typically, each grade forms a troop, but because there are fewer leaders and scouts, several grades joined together to make troops. The troops plan to observe Girl Scout Week from March 12-18, when Girl Scouts of all ages celebrate what it means to be a GIRL (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader).
Milbank also has two scouts working on the highest Girl Scout achievement – the Gold Award. Only senior and ambassador level Girl Scouts are eligible and only 5.4% of eligible girls achieve the award. Christena Whitman, a sophomore at Milbank High School, has worked ahead to be ranked as a senior. Allison Grear, a senior at MHS, is at the ambassador level. Both are working toward the Gold Award. Whitman works with her mother, Abby Tschakert, as her leader.
Michelle Fraasch, who has been with Girl Scouts for numerous years, is the leader of four MHS seniors in their final year. They rank as ambassadors and include Korinne Roggenbuck, Alexa Fraasch, Savannah Mork, and Allison Grear. Lynelle Thyne has two girls in grades seven and eight under her guidance. Becky Scavariel leads three girls from the sixth grade. Robin Pies heads up the fourth and fifth grade troop with two girls, and Amy Eilers has seven girls from the second and third grade. Heather Schwenn has taken 17 girls under her wing from kindergarten through first grade.
“We have a good group of girls this year,” stated Eilers. “We will be looking for members and leaders at the conclusion of this year. We have several leaders who have been with the organization for lots of years and are stepping down. We hope other moms or anyone interested will assist the program as leaders or help with our annual fundraisers.”
The local troops meet once or twice a month during the school year with activities planned throughout the summer. The yearly events for all troops include: roller skating in January, valentines for nursing home residents in February, cookie sales in March, and May baskets for nursing home residents. Other activities are: the MHS homecoming parade, Fishing day in October, Halloween with a Rock n’ Bowl event in October, Girl Scout nuts in November, and Christmas caroling at nursing homes in December. The senior troop also holds a annual baking day in December. All Girl Scout troops bake Christmas goodies to take home.
This summer, the girls will enjoy swimming, the annual awards ceremony, and a two-day camping trip to Hartford Beach. “We try to have a lot of fun, while exposing them to a variety of leadership activities,” stated Eilers. “These are the things that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Pre-registration for Girl Scouts takes place in May with a joint registration night with the Boy Scouts planned for August. For more information about Girl Scouts, contact Eilers at 605-438-0894 or 605-949-0694.