Lake Tahoe Girl Scouts in search of new members, troop leaders | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lake Tahoe Girl Scouts in search of new members, troop leaders

Build girls with "courage, confidence and character" — that's the goal of Girls Scouts of the Tahoe Shores. This year, the group is looking to expand its mission by adding three new troops to the community.

With increased demand — but limited volunteer adult troop leaders — some of the troops are at max capacity.

"We have girls that want to be part of the troops, but sometimes we end up with troops that have 20 girls to a troop, which is more challenging," said Laurel Paxton, a parent, former Girl Scout and troop leader. "Twelve is the ideal number."

There are currently 120 Girl Scouts and 12 troops in the Girl Scout Service Unit 620.

"Troops can be whatever they want to make it. Some troops are all about being indoor troops … but some girls are very athletic and they want to get out there and learn more skills in the outdoors," added Paxton.

Shelly Martinez has been a Girl Scout volunteer in Tahoe for over 20 years and has seen the positive impact the program has had on youth in the community.

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"I've seen girls start with just a little bit of confidence, and maybe with a little uncertainty as to what Girl Scouts could do for them. Now these young women are directors of nonprofits, firefighters, nurses and writers," said Martinez.

This summer, Martinez took 16 Girl Scouts who expressed an interest in travel to New York City using funds the girls raised themselves.

"There were girls in our troop who had never been on a plane before. To see those possibilities become realities is so inspiring. I think the more opportunities that you have to learn and grow and know that there is a whole big world out there — and that you have a part in it — it's such an amazing thing."

Selling cookies, said Martinez, is just a way to fund the Girl Scouts' projects and activities. Throughout their time in the program, the scouts can take on three major projects that solve a problem or provide a community service, progressing from a Bronze Award to a Silver and, lastly, a Gold.

Whittell High School senior Madison Evans has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and earned her Gold Award by designing curriculum for a camp to prepare children for kindergarten.

"I put on a camp for preschool-age children who didn't have the opportunity to go or needed more preschool before kindergarten," explained Evans. "I called it Thinking Camp, and it was a week-long intensive where we just really helped get that social surrounding and educational surrounding so they would be more prepared when they start kindergarten."

Evans said completing these types of projects taught her how to reach out to resources and turn an idea into a reality.

"It's definitely taught me a lot about being a leader," said Evans, who also pointed to the scholarship opportunities that can come through Girl Scouts.

Her accomplishments as a Girl Scout featured prominently on her college applications.

"I got into [the University of Nevada, Las Vegas] already, and I plan on going there to study mechanical engineering."

To help with its recruitment efforts — and in honor of founder Juliette Gordon Lowe's birthday — the Girls Scouts of the Tahoe Shores are hosting a Skating Night on Friday, Oct. 13, from 6-8 p.m. at the Kahle Community Center. For $8 (or $6 for girls who bring their own skates), girls receive skates, birthday cake and a patch for their Girls Scouts vest or sash.

Interested girls or troop volunteers can also reach out to Martinez at teachershelly@charter.net for more information.

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