By Chris Bavender
From volunteering at animal shelters to reading to children in hospitals or to the elderly, Carmel Girl Scouts find ways to give back to their community. And, that’s especially true during the holidays.
“When a lot of people think of Girl Scouts they think of cookies, camp and crafts,” said Membership Development Manager Hannah Croucher. “But things have transitioned a lot and it’s really a leadership experience and a lot of service opportunities for the girls. No matter the age group the girls are playing an active role in the community and giving back to those in their neighborhoods, their cities, their communities.”
Croucher said troops particularly enjoy the time they spend time with the elderly during the holidays.
“The girls make gloves, hats and blankets for people who are in nursing homes and can’t be with their families,” she said. “The patients light up with happiness and enjoy the company of the girls. Some have commented about, ‘What a wonderful day it was and how much fun the girls were.’”
Other service opportunities include spending time with children their own age at a homeless shelter – time Croucher calls teaching moments.
“It shows them that everybody is the same and to never be afraid to spend time with people during certain circumstances,” she said. “It shows them they have an opportunity to make a difference – not only for others but also within themselves through the time they spend with others. And it definitely teaches them not to judge a book by its cover – to be open and kind – that everyone has their own battle.”
All beneficial lessons for not only the troops’ growth, Croucher said, but also their ambitions later in life.
“It’s why we really try to push them getting involved very early on and continuing as they get older,” she said. “Once girls get to a certain level in scouts they can start working on the bronze, silver and gold awards, which are service driven. A child can be exposed to something early in life in their scout career and then work to make a difference based on the experiences they had when they were younger, such as a blanket drive.”