Membership in a Girl Scouts troop is not just about Thin Mints and Samoas.
To be a Girl Scout also means shared memories with your fellow Girl Scouts, such as raising money for a trip to Peru.
Girl Scout Troop 3129 conducted its fourth event Saturday aimed at raising money to send 14 Girl Scouts and five adults to the South American country in July 2015.
Nina Montes of Waldorf, who has been in the troop since first grade, and Katie Polk, 16, organized Saturday’s holiday shopping drop-off child care event. The troop hopes to hold an event each month until the trip to raise $70,000.
“We also get the experiences of being leaders and managing these events and helping others,” Nina, 17, said. The Girl Scouts are learning skills that they will need after being a Girl Scout.
Several members of the troop taught crafts to, read to, sang songs with and made gingerbread houses with three children Saturday at Calvary Gospel Church in Waldorf.
Troop leader Susan Valdez said the troop had raised $2,000 so far for the trip to Peru prior to Saturday’s event. Previous fundraising events included a booth at the Charles County Fair in September, pumpkin scooping in late October and a makeover and photo day in late November. At the county fair, Valdez said the Girl Scouts made balloon animals for children, organized a photo booth and sold crafts and henna tattoos.
Valdez said the troop is hoping to raise $3,500 per person for the trip. She said that last summer the troop began discussing where to take a service trip to and how much would have to be raised to finance the trip.
“Do we want to spend all our time in one place and really learn the culture in one place?” Valdez said leaders and members asked themselves.
The service part of the trip to Peru, Valdez said, will be the Girl Scouts visiting an orphanage and school, but it is uncertain what the Girl Scouts will do to help the Peruvian children. Nina said the girls might teach the children English.
At Saturday’s child care event, Nina said she enjoyed when the children and Girl Scouts played “pin the star on the tree,” a Christmas version of “pin the tail on the donkey.”
“That was fun,” Nina said.
The Girls Scouts and children also made reindeer food: oatmeal covered in glitter to be left outside for Santa’s reindeer.
“I’m excited to go outside of the country,” Angela Schroeck, 15, said of the Peru trip. “I’ve only been outside the country once.” Angela said she visited the Bahamas. She said another fundraiser next year for the Peru trip will be a dinner theater where the Girl Scouts will cook Peruvian food. Angela also is excited about seeing Machu Piccu, an ancient Inca city, in Peru.
For Nina and Mary Valdez, 17, the trip to Peru will be the last event with the Girl Scouts troop before going to college, unless they return to volunteer with the troop or until they become parents of the next generation of Girl Scouts.
The children in the Girl Scouts’ child care also had the opportunity to shop in the Girl Scouts’ Christmas Shop for loved ones. Arleena Thompson, 5, was assisted by Katie in finding gifts for her loved ones. Her choices included lotion, lip balm, candles, chocolate and a snow globe. She said each item cost $2.
“We wanted her to be exposed to Girl Scouts,” said Cathy Thompson of Waldorf, Arleena’s grandmother, about Saturday’s child care event. Thompson said Arleena’s mother, Kristina Thompson, and aunt, Vanessa Bressler, were in Girl Scouts for several years. Arleena’s grandmother, mother and aunt hope to get Arleena started in community service early and stay involved, her grandmother said.
Michael and Lindsey Bowersox of La Plata brought their daughter, Mackenzie, 6, to the child care event while they got a little break at home as parents. Lindsey Bowersox said the afternoon also was a good opportunity for Mackenzie to spend time with the Girl Scouts.
Before leaving, Mackenzie asked her parents if she could come again because she had fun with the Girl Scouts.
The troop also has an ongoing fundraiser called Flamingo Flocking, in which someone can make a donation of $25 for the Peru trip and 25 pink plastic flamingos will be delivered and set up in a friend’s or family member’s yard when they are not home.
Girl Scouts Troop #3129’s next fundraising event for their 2015 trip to Peru will be a baby-sitting certification class in January for children 12 and older. The date has not been confirmed.
Want to Flamingo Flock someone, donate for Girl Scout Troop 3129’s Peru trip or become a trip sponsor? Call troop leader Laura Polk at 301-580-9312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.