Competition from school and other activities may have gotten the best of the local West Liberty Girl Scout and Brownie/Daisy troops, but leaders say the program is alive and well and would like to see it grow - adding new members.
Tara VanDusen of rural West Liberty has been leader of the West Liberty Junior Troop for the past eight years and she says although there are just two members in the troop, the number of activities and benefits of becoming a member of the local youth organization are plentiful.
Now in the midst of their major fundraiser - selling the popular Girl Scout cookies – the troop is combining efforts with the Daisy/Brownie Troop led by Stephanie Nixt and Julie Savona in getting together this Saturday to sell the treats at Fred's Feed in downtown West Liberty, hoping to sell hundreds of boxes of cookies from 8 a.m.-noon in one of the only public events they could put together amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has kept them from soliciting door-to-door.
Hoping to sell 1,000 boxes of cookies before the March 28 deadline, the girls have their work cut out for them in hoping to make enough money to support a trip to Girl Scout Summer Camp in Muscatine, provide badges for their accomplishments and support activities throughout the year. The leaders said each girl has a personal goal they hope to reach as well in selling the cookies.
VanDusen said the girls started taking orders as early as Decemher, but didn't get the cookies until just recently, having to organize quickly to figure out a way to peddle their cookie supply - the local store stepping up to the plate to help the troops.
The girls will be offering six different varieties of cookies including Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Girl Scout S'mores, Toffee-tastic and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.
The girls who meet monthly, take on a lot of activities throughout the year including getting involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), engineering and robotics, gardening, cooking, selling and marketing and learning how to talk to people.
VanDusen said the girls usually participate in a number of field trips and fun activities, from attending Iowa Hawkeye games to pool parties and even attending live events like The Nutcracker at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, visiting a pumpkin patch, going to a movie, going to Discovery Park in Muscatine and even going horse back riding.
VanDusen says the girls don't lack for things to do and says she appreciates all the support the troops get from the community.
She said the girls learn how to set goals and "what it takes to achieve them."
"Girl Scouts learn valuable skills that will help them in life while giving them an opportunity to experience things they may not have an opportunity to do otherwise," VanDusen said, adding that Scouts gain friendships, learn to help the community, take pride of accomplishments and learn to either work together or individually to accomplish a task.
The troops try to meet twice a month for two hours each time. Kindergarten thru high school can be members of Girl Scouts. Kindergarten and first grade students are recognized as Daisy troop members while second and third grade students are considered Brownies. Fourth and fifth grade students are Juniors.
Anyone interested in joining the local troop should contact VanDusen at 319-330-6047 or can find more information on the Girl Scout website at girlscoutstoday.org/ or by calling 800-798-0833.
She said all girls are welcome from throughout the West Liberty School District communities.
VanDusen said the troop has slowly lost numbers over the years because of the fact kids are involved in so many different school and summer activities, but would love to see the troop grow, noting it helps build character and confidence.
If you're interested in ordering some cookies, contact VanDusen by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call at the number above.