As a Junior Girl Scout, my troop’s walk to a manicured suburban park was called a “hike.” We were taught how to bake cookies from packaged mixes and what to do for someone who’d fainted. And, of course, we sold those famous boxes of cookies mass-produced elsewhere.
It was a far cry from the Girl Scouts of the early 1900s. Back then, members commonly learned “nature skills” to use while forest camping, telegraphy and how to put a tourniquet on a spurting wound.
The Girl Scouts of Boulder County today are still selling those cookies — but they’re also using “zero waste” methods at events and preparing to learn construction.
“We’re working with the ReSource Tool Library in Boulder to set up workshops for the girls,” says Katie Doak, manager of membership at the organization’s Fort Collins Service Center. “We would like to see them learn how to handle all kinds of tools for building, cutting tile and installing dry wall. The ReSource conservation center is a great place for their education about all the discarded construction material that is one of the largest generators of waste in our landfills.”
The Girls Scouts are aiming to participate in the St. Vrain Valley Habitat for Humanity’s “Women Build” house project in the spring. While older Girl Scouts will help with outside construction, younger girls will contribute with indoor finishing work.
“We’re hoping the women-focused project will attract girls who haven’t had previous experience with Girl Scouts,” Doak says.
Boulder County has 1,967 active members and 672 adult volunteers participating in the 2010-11 membership year, and the door is always open. While many girls have traditionally discovered Girl Scouts through their schools, even the home-schooled have troops just for them.
“I know of several in Boulder County,” says Suzanne Picard, a co-leader of Junior Troop #1363. “Ours participated in a zero-waste campout organized by another troop, and we did a field trip to EcoCycle in ’09, where one of the girl’s parents works. They really got interested in also doing a zero-waste event.”
They’ll get their chance this year by acting as the host troop for the Girl Scouts’ World Thinking Day in Boulder County on Feb. 20. The event is an international one where the focus is on cross-cultural friendships and awareness of how the rest of the world lives.
Zero waste, as the EcoCycle website explains, is about encouraging alternative manufacturing for products that would have to be recycled or dumped.
For instance, it promotes the use of disposable tableware made of compostable corn starch for outdoor events.
Boulder County’s 2011 World Thinking Day will feature international games and dancing, food, crafts, nonperishable food-donation collection, ecology-related booths and demonstration bins for worm composting.
The event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 20 in Gunbarrel, on the grounds of the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, at 7077 Harvest Road.
For more information, contact Katie Doak at 970-231-0575 or check out the Girl Scouts World Thinking Day website at http://bit.ly/gscouts.