When Victoria Lord was growing up, Girl Scouts was totally different.
“When I was a kid it was just a troop. You were in a troop and you sold cookies and that was about it,” Lord said.
Decades later they call Girl Scouts a “leadership experience”.
“We like to say we’re more than cookies, crafts, and camping,” Lord said. “We’re building girls of courage, confidence, and character.”
Lord is the Girl Scouts Member Service Specialist for the Southeast region, the southern part. She’s based in Ketchikan and she’s reaching out to communities in the area to get more people involved in the program.
She says Girl Scouts still sells the famous cookies as a fundraiser but the program has a much higher goal. It teaches girls about awareness and connection.
“There’s a balance of having fun and doing things that are fun that contribute to the better community and the greater good,” Lord said. “And so it’s engaging girls to understand that they are a part of the lives of their sisters in Girl Scouts, of the school, of the greater community.”
Lord is looking for volunteers for a variety of activities to help with cookie sales, specific events or for leading a troop. There are troops for all ages from the Daisies for grades Kindergarten to first grade 1 to Girl Scouts Ambassadors for 11th and 12th grades.
Troops often meet a few times a month but Lord says girls don’t have to be part of a troop to participate in events. As the girls grow in the program there are travel opportunities from day trips all the way to international travel. Troop leaders help organize activities but they don’t have to be parents.
Lord says Southeast is an ideal location for Girl Scout troops because the outdoors is so accessible.
“We have all the resources around us for many of the activities. We’re already there. We don’t have to drive miles to experience wilderness or take a hike or whatever,” Lord said. “So there are activities that you can look at and say, ‘Ok, we can tailor this to fit Petersburg. We can expand this activity to engage in this community, and what’s going on specifically in this community’.”
The Girl Scouts organization sponsors events throughout the year that engage girls in hands on activities. One of the main events is a Women of Science and Technology Day. There will also be a Women of Arts Day this Spring.
“It gives girls an opportunity to work with women, to see women that are successful and positive role models that are actually doing jobs that maybe they didn’t think were out there,” she said.
Petersburg’s Girl Scouts program is also developing an outdoor series that includes outdoor survival and winter activities. The leader for the Petersburg program is Linda Slaght.
For more information about Girl Scouts in Petersburg you can contact Linda Slaght at (907) 518-0798. Or you can contact Victoria Lord at (907) 617-2160. More information about Girl Scouts can be found at girlscoutsalaska.org.