Scout’s honor

January 2022 Posted in Community, Outdoor Life

By Melissa Wagoner

After more than a year of being apart, Silverton’s Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts – now simply known as “the Scouts” – were finally able to resume in-person meetings and group activities, and they were sure glad.

“Over Zoom it was hard,” Scouts parent volunteer Rhett Randall said. He noted that during the shutdown the club, which generally hovers around 20 members, dropped to only 12. 

“But now that we can have in-person meetings it’s a lot easier,” he said. He added that the resumption of events – including a 55-mile, five-day canoe trip through the Boundary Waters of Minnesota – has helped boost morale
as well.

Silverton Scouts Troop gear up on the trip to explore Minnesota. courtesy of Dave Tacker

“It got us back into it,” Randall said. “It was a trip that reminded us of [our purpose] after a really hard year.”

And that purpose, which is similar to that of the Girl Scouts, is less about what the community sees on the outside – outdoor adventures, campfires, canoe trips and tree climbing – and more about developing social skills, fostering leadership and forging strong relationships. Activities that are difficult to accomplish through a computer screen. 

“Girl Scouts is a way of life that brings out the best in girls, even in the most challenging of times,” Heather Howe, the leader of the Silverton troop of Girl Scouts for the past 11 years, said. The recommencement of in-person meeting has been important.

“Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by them.”

Similar in their organization – with the youngest members starting out in Cub Scouts for boys under 10 and Daisies, Brownies and Jr. Cadettes for girls younger – both the Girl Scouts and Scouts make joining easy and budget friendly thanks to a plethora of fundraising opportunities. And it’s not all about the money, because there are skills to be learned in those activities as well.

“It has been amazing to watch the girls from the time they were in kindergarten learning how to count money, to now as high schoolers, being able to run a business with nut and cookie sales with the leaders just watching and occasionally asking questions,” Howe described. “As they have grown older, they have taken on the management of their troop funds and can budget the activities that they want to do.”

Those activities include everything from learning to cook over a campfire to creating their own computer algorithms, with plenty of community service opportunities as well. 

“I have really enjoyed watching the girls choose different service projects to help the community over the years,” Howe said. “They have helped collect food, built bat boxes, served food at community dinners, and helped various animal shelter groups.”

Similarly, the Scouts, with its own myriad of merit badge-sanctioned activities – including archery, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, cycling, finances, robotics, aviation and digital technology – also encourages a community service contingent.

“[It’s] one of our main focuses,” scoutmaster Dave Tacker confirmed. “We do a few things on a regular basis including road cleanup, putting out flags at local cemeteries for Veterans Day and Memorial Day and then picking them up afterwards and also special projects. For example, we just restored the wishing well in Mount Angel and our Eagle Scouts perform a community service project as part of their requirements that generally involves at least 80 to 100 volunteer hours and provides a useful contribution to the community. The life [jacket] coat rack at the park was an Eagle project for example.”

None of these activities could take place without first establishing leadership skills. It’s a primary focus of both groups and a skill that will follow troop members through life, long after the campfires are extinguished and the bows are put away.

“Girl Scouts is unique because it’s girl-led, meaning that girls decide what exciting, hands-on activities interest them most and how they’ll make a difference in the world, together,” Howe said. “They’re inspired to discover their talents and passions in a safe and supportive all-girl environment.”

“I think it’s one of the best leadership opportunities you can get,” 17-year-old Scout Lance Brown said of his 10-year experience as a Scout. “You can’t get experience like this anywhere else.”

Scouts Troop 485

[email protected] 

Girl Scouts

K-8 Troop 13022:
[email protected] 

High School Troop 10039: [email protected]

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