Sister Girl Scouts from across the USA join in saving camps, adopting troops
NEW ORLEANS (June 30, 2006)
The last two lines of the Girl Scout Law read "I will do my best to make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout." Girl Scouts from Alaska to Maine took the Law to heart and worked to be sisters to southeast Louisiana Girl Scouts by helping raise funds for the Council's devastated camps. Eighty-six troops and 13 separate councils raised $58,000 for hurricane rebuilding, of which $10,000 was designated specifically for camp repair. Additionally, over 500 troops participated in the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana's post-Katrina Adopt-A-Troop program and helped to bring the Council troops' lives back to a sense of normalcy by giving them a place to start again.
Hurricane Katrina caused serious damage to the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana's two camp properties, Camp Whispering Pines and Camp Covington. Currently, Camp Covington, in St. Tammany Parish, is still not useable. The camp lost more than 90 percent of its trees and many of its buildings. It is not known when work will begin to rebuild this camp.
Camp Whispering Pines (CWP), located in Independence in Tangipahoa Parish, suffered damage as well. Most of CWP's damage was to the tents and cabins on the property. Like most of the New Orleans area, the Council's goal was to get the less damaged property up and running and to work on the more serious damages later on. As a result, CWP is offering troop camping, albeit in a modified version, this summer.
"The response from our sister Girl Scouts has been heartwarming, said Jackie Alexander, Council CEO. "They began emailing us a day or two after Katrina hit, asking what they could do to help."
According to Alexander, the support of sister Girl Scouts has been a critical component in the Council's camp rebuilding efforts. Contributions, ranging from $25 to over $1,000, poured in as Girl Scouts from all over the country hosted fundraising events simply because they understood the importance of Girl Scout camping. Many contributions came with letters, handmade cards and photos offering their words of hope and compassion.
Just a few examples of the many creative fundraising activities include:
- • Troop 382 from Grove City, Ohio collected 430 pounds of aluminum cans in a fundraising project they called Kanz for Katrina.
- • Girl Scouts from Big Sky Montana, Brownie Troop 5 from Verona, Kentucky and several other councils donated money directly from their cookie proceeds.
- • Girl Scouts from Orange County, California designed and sold a Hurricane Katrina patch, with the theme of "individually we can make a small difference, together we can help make a big difference." They donated the proceeds to the American Red Cross and the Girl Council of Southeast Louisiana.
- • Several individual troops collected funds as part of their World Thinking Day projects.
- • Girl Scout Troop 2671 from Maryland and other troops across the country held bake sales.
- • Girl Scout Troops 128 and 155 in Wisconsin hosted a Father/Daughter Dance.
In the Council's Adopt-A-Troop program, adopting Girl Scout troops wrote letters of encouragement, purchased Girl Scout gift certificates for the girls, and in many cases contacted the troop leader directly to see what other needs they might fill. Girls became pen pals with their sister Girl Scouts, sending and receiving handwritten notes, cards, and photos from the girls. Southeast Louisiana troop leaders were amazed at the outpouring of their sister troops.
"I think this is so wonderful that they are donating part of their cookie sales to help us rebuild our camps. These girls and their leaders demonstrate exactly what it means to be a Girl Scout! We love them!" said Destrehan troop leader Karla Yent in an email to the Council.
In addition to financial support, several out of state councils offered "camperships" and camping opportunities to Louisiana girls. The Girl Scout Council of Wyoming offered resident camp, as did the Girl Scout Totem Council in Washington State and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County (New York). Girl Scouts of the USA provided a grant to cover transportation expenses. As a result, Louisiana girls will have the opportunity to experience the joy, friendship and fun that Girl Scout camping has to offer, whether in their home state or "up north."
The basic premise of Girl Scouting - sisters helping sisters - is reflected in the Girl Scout of the USA's recently adopted mission statement, "Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place" and in the Girl Scout Promise, "…to help others at all times." Girl Scouts learn very early on how to reach out and help one another. Because of Hurricane Katrina, the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana experienced first hand what it means when sister Girl Scouts live by Girl Scout principles - and put them into action!
For more information about becoming a Girl Scout volunteer, or how you can contribute to the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana's Save Our Camps Fund, please call the Council office at (504) 733-8220 or (800) 644-7571. The Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana serves the parishes of Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.Media Contact: Marianne Burdette, Director of Communications
(504) 733-8220, ext. 226 or firstname.lastname@example.org