The Girl Scouts of Ridgway are holding a registration/pool party event Thursday, Aug. 18 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for both Girl Scouts and girls of all ages who may want to learn more about scouts.
"Registration forms will be available for both girls and adults who would like to become involved in Girl Scouts," said Rayetta Lindberg, who indicated family members also are invited to attend. "Financial assistance is available to girls for the registration fee."
There also is no admission charge for the pool party, and food and drinks can be purchased from the concession stand.
"There will also be information about a Girl Scout trip to Pittsburgh to see 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas' at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts," Lindberg said. "Girls who are registered are eligible to go on the trip in November."
For many of the volunteers involved with scouting, the program is about having fun and making friends.
"It's also about learning about what you can accomplish and developing self-esteem," Lindberg said. "It's about camping and trips, and helping others. Service projects are a big part of the program as it teaches girls they are part of a community and need to be involved."
While the curriculum at area high schools require community service as part of graduation requirements, the Girl Scouts start at a much younger age.
"The girls are learning that community service makes you feel better sometimes too and it's an awesome thing to do-- it really isn't as awful as some people make it seem and they're being an important part of the community," Lindberg said. "I think if you encourage kids to see what the community is doing and be involved at an early age, you're going to be that much of a better person as you get older.
"We're ensuring that we'll have a future as a community."
Several community projects completed last year included programs at the Ridgmont Assisted Living Facility such as decorating cookies and singing carols, the yearly Mitten Tree placed at Ridgway BiLo to help collect mittens, hats and gloves, and the Bake-A-Thon held by Troop 20957. This particular troop baked and donated 237 dozen cookies to area police and fire departments, nursing homes and churches.
"We went to a nursing home in DuBois and made gingerbread houses with the residents at the facility," added Julie Hart. "The girls were able to make their own plus help the residents and after they did that, our troop then went to Ridgmont and helped the residents make gingerbread houses for themselves to either take to their rooms or put on display in the nursing home."
The Girl Scouts also are able to aim for several goals including receiving awards at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.
"Girls in fourth grade start working on their Bronze award, and the older girls work on their Silver and finally their Gold awards," Lindberg said. "These awards are part of learning about community involvement, organizing a large project and following through to completion.
"These awards also teach communication and leadership skills."
However, Lindberg admitted there seems to be a slight decline in membership over the years.
"I think some of it has to do with a lot of girls going out for sports," Lindberg said. "That takes a lot of their time but Girl Scouts has changed a lot-- you used to have to come to meetings every Thursday but now a lot of the requirements have been changed.
"There is no typical Girl Scout and the girls make the program what they want it to be and they get what they want out of the program. We see that the girls develop more self-esteem, they become more sure of what they're doing, they try new things and they're able to communicate better with people, and get along with people. We go on trips together and they're a lot of fun, but part of it is working together to get those trips to work."
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.