Project 50, No 3: Girl Scouts Heart of the South
Project 50 is a weekly feature on a Mid-South nonprofit that will go on through 2014. I hope that you decide to get involved with at least one organization you hear about this year and put your love for Memphis to work. In this week's Project 50 post, I’m focusing on Girl Scouts' Heart of the South (our area's chapter) – and it's just in time for cookie season.
The Girl Scouts Heart of the South covers 59 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi, and Arkansas. About 13,500 girls and 3,500 volunteers make up the troops in the Heart of the South area, and 35 percent of those are in the Memphis and Shelby County area.
Memphis Daisy Girl Scout Troop 13348 brought Girl Scout Cookies to Memphis Firefighters at Fire Station 11 and took a visit of the fire house.
The Girl Scouts is open to any girl in grades K-12, and provides a way for girls and young women to gain leadership skills, discover new interests, meet new people, and contribute t0 the community.
When you think of Girl Scouts, if you're envisioning groups of girls and their moms going on camping trips, making crafts, and selling cookies, you're not wrong, but that's just one way to look at it. For example, one way to volunteer is to sign up to give a talk or a workshop to a troop about your field of expertise. Giving girls the opportunity to see other women succeeding personally and professionally – to have good role models – is something we can take for granted. The Girl Scouts provide that through their programs in environmentalism, sports, culture, and education.
Memphis Cadette Girl Scout Troop 13345 took home second place in The A-Blazing Model Solar Car Race sponsored by MLGW.
While most of us are familiar with the Girl Scout Cookie program, there are a few things you may not know besides the finer points of the Samoas v. Thin Mints debate (I'm a Tagalong girl myself). First, all of the money from the cookie sales stays local. Area troops use the funds for field trips, summer camps, charitable donations, and to purchase extra cookies to give away to places like the Ronald McDonald House or soldiers overseas.
Olive Branch Junior Girl Scout Troop 10527 donated Girl Scout Cookies to patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
In addition to all of that, through the process of selling and fulfilling cookie sales, the girls gain experience in goal setting, decision making, budgeting, i.e., "if I sell x number of cookies, I can pay for x number of beds at the animal shelter", people skills, and business ethics. You can learn more about the Cookie Program and its benefits (besides providing us with delicious cookies) here.
Right now, it's still the pre-order part of cookie season, so if you know a Girl Scout/parent of a Girl Scout, you can buy directly from those individuals. For four weekends starting on February 21, Girl Scouts will set up Cookie Booths all over the place, including Krogers, Wal-Marts, and locally-owned businesses. This year, the Girl Scouts have introduced perhaps the best app of all time: Girl Scout Cookie Finder, which is exactly what it sounds like. You can download it for iTunes here or Android here, or look it up online starting Feb. 21.
Official mission statement (via girlscoutshs.org): "Building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place."
Biggest annual events: Cookie Selling Season (January 4 – March 16), MagNut Program (late fall)
How you can help:
– Buy cookies!
– Volunteer. It doesn't have to be a troop leader commitment. Short term or episodic volunteers are needed, too. Find out more here.