It’s been a year since Girl Scout troops in Arkansas were scrambling to finish 2020’s cookie sales when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, forcing the cancellation of group activities. New safety measures meant new plans.
The Girl Scouts quickly adapted and made modifications to keep everyone safe.
“Our council leadership puts out fresh guidelines for us as the situation and Arkansas state guidelines shift and change,” Kimberly Smith, an area troop leader and Service Unit leader for our region, explained. “Our activities with the girls have to conform to these guidelines, but they are also influenced by individual troops and troop leaders’ needs and feelings. The result is that every troop is handling this a little differently.”
One troop has a leader whose husband is a medical emergency professional in daily contact with COVID-19 patients, so she has decided to meet virtually this year to avoid risking exposure for her girls. Other troops have leaders and parents who are comfortable meeting in person, so their meetings have continued within the guidelines set by the council. Yet others have elected to minimize risk by meeting only outside, weather permitting. “We’re all doing whatever we can, and what each of us can do varies,” Smith explained.
Beginning new troops under last fall’s circumstances seemed daunting, but two troops are now now forming in Harrison for kindergarten and first grade Daisies.
Veteran leader Michelle Alanis is joining up with new leader KeLeah Rogers to start a troop for kindergarten girls. These Daisies, as they are called, will be organized this spring. “This is my first time ever with Girl Scouts so I am learning everything right along with my daughter,” KaLeah shared. “I want to be a positive influence, to be the one to encourage girls that they can achieve their goals with hard work and determination. These girls are our future.”
First grade girls in our area will also have an opportunity to join a brand new spring-forming troop. Jennifer Young and her daughter Jaelynn are hoping to find a co-leader so that they too can have a troop with whom to share the Girl Scout experience. “Girl Scouts can give her a chance to meet new friends and learn about things she might not otherwise,” Young enthused. “I look forward to helping the girls find their voices and take on new adventures!”
Even cookie season had to adapt to COVID-19; local troops were accustomed to being welcomed at Walmart entrances, but that was not allowed this year. “We’ve found some great new locations at other local businesses,” Smith explained. “We hope our cookie customers are looking for us we’re scattered everywhere from Ace Hardware to local gas stations this year!”
Area troops are still selling cookies through the end of March. Check at girlscoutsdiamonds.org or the new Girl Scouts of North Central Arkansas Facebook page to find a booth or troop who can deliver locally or have them shipped straight to your door!
Want to join?
If you’re interested in joining the Girl Scouting adventure, as a girl or volunteer, sign up at girlscoutsdiamonds.org and/or contact local service unit leader Kim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.