Same goals, new twist for Girl Scouts

Published March 5, 2005|Updated Aug. 25, 2005

They do more than ply Samoas, Thin Mints and shortbread cookies.

Girl Scouts of today probably are unrecognizable to most grandmothers and probably many mothers.

These days they learn about career options. Kindergarteners _ Daisies _ help swell their ranks. Instead of badges, girls can earn charms for their bracelets or other jewelry. And in the Tampa Bay area this summer, Girl Scouts of Suncoast Council, which covers Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, will introduce wakeboarding and water-skiing at summer camp.

But some things have remained the same, said Kelly Lynn, communications manager for the Suncoast Council: "The values, teaching girls to be good citizens and to give back to their communities."

Today, Girl Scouts in the Tampa Bay area will join their sisters around the nation as they celebrate the beginning of Girl Scouts Week.

Several troops will gather at Lake Seminole Presbyterian Church, 8505 113th St., for a special service.

"It's our way of showing that we really support what Scouting is doing in the lives of these young children in this community," said the Rev. Robert Wierenga.

"We want to support the families that are involved. As someone has said, "You can either curse the darkness or light a candle.' "

The service will begin at 10:45 a.m.

Annette Gentzel is service unit manager for Shining Waters, a geographic Girl Scouts grouping that includes all of Seminole, some of the beach communities, a bit of Largo and the Bay Pines area.

She said there are 336 girls and 191 adult volunteers involved in the unit.

At least six of Shining Waters' 31 troops will participate in Sunday's program at Lake Seminole Presbyterian Church, Gentzel said, adding that the event was planned only about a week and a half ago.

"We're hoping to have as many as possible, girls and their families," she said.

The weeklong celebration that begins today coincides with the founding of the Girl Scouts movement, said Lynn of the Suncoast Council.

The organization was founded March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., by Juliette Gordon Low.

The nation's second Girl Scouts troop was started in Tampa the next year, Lynn said.

She added that in 2004, there were nearly 26,000 Girl Scouts in the area.