BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The new Girl Scouts season kicked off with the second annual sock hop, Oct. 16, at Sashabaw Middle School.
The event was a welcome back to local Girl Scouts and to welcome new scouts. It was also an informational night for leaders and parents with Girl Scout partners to learn about workshops and services for Girl Scouts or how Girl Scouts can help others.
“This sock hop was bigger than our very first one last year,” said Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan’s Community 03 Event Coordinator Kristine McNamara. “We had approximately 50 girls with their parents and leaders and some more and different vendors, so we doubled our attendance. The overall feeling and mood was a happy and fun atmosphere. The girls enjoyed dancing to music from the 50s with most of the girls dressed up in poodle skirts or jeans rolled up and leather jackets. They also had fun with the hands-on activities provided by the Michigan Science Center, Challenge Island, and Girl Scout WAGGS. They made bracelets, played with connectors and learned ways to make a frog jump into a pond. Everyone loved the cider and donuts and cookies and water, and leaders and parents enjoyed learning about all the different partners of Girl Scouts and what they had to offer. We had girls from Daisies to Ambassadors. All levels were represented.”
McNamara added that being involved in Girl Scouts is a benefit that goes beyond the group.
“Girl Scouts provides really great opportunities for girls to explore areas they normally would not try,” said “There are so many opportunities for girls such as camping, archery, STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, Art and Mechanical), music, dancing, badges they can create on their own, all kinds of outdoor adventures and learning about having a small business, but most of all the feeling of belonging, making some great friends along the way, and learning to lead through doing.
“It is also very rewarding for leaders to see the girls grow as individuals and as leaders. The leaders have a sense of pride knowing they have made a difference in the girls’ lives and have helped mold them to be great and successful persons.”
Locally, Clarkston has 480 Girl Scouts registered and 131 adult volunteers registered.
“The only real challenge is recruiting leaders to run our troops,” McNamara said. “If we have leaders for our troops, we have girls. We have more girls then we can find leaders for. Our leaders are a very valuable part of the organization.
“For families on the fence about joining, this organization is a great place for girls to make new friends that last a lifetime. The experiences are amazing and teach the girls so much while costing very little compared to most other extracurricular activities.”
As a non-profit organization, Girl Scouts relies on volunteers. From the leaders to the cookie mom or dad to service unit managers to the community event and finance coordinators, “we are all volunteers,” said McNamara, who added that her committee is looking to plan badge and journey workshops close to home.
“Our community (Northern Oakland County) has been without a community event committee for a while, so we are in the planning and budgeting stages to bring back some great events,” said McNamara.
Some upcoming events that our Girl Scouts can participate in as a whole are selling papers to support Shoes for Kids (Dec. 6-8 at local businesses), the holiday parades (one entry is made for all Girl Scouts who wish to participate), cookie sales, cookie booths (mid-February to mid-April), and International Night, generally held around March 12, the Girl Scouts birthday.
McNamara also said to look out for the next sock hop a year from now.
Girl Scouts also provides financial aid to families for help in membership fees to uniforms to dues to outings.
“We want all girls to be able to participate, no matter what they may be facing,” McNamara said. “All financial applications are confidential are between the council and the family. The leaders are not part of this process.”
At the end of the day, McNamara encourages all girls to give Girl Scouts a shot.
“No matter how busy you may be, there is always room to spend more time with your children somehow,” she said. “I found that in being a leader. My girls were also very active in cheerleading, soccer, softball and now my youngest in basketball and drama. I am exceptionally proud as my daughter, Jessica, has now become the Brownie leader for her daughter, my granddaughter. This is the most rewarding, seeing how much Girl Scouts impacted her that she wants to provide her daughter with the same experience.”