The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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Girl Scouts discover new opportunities

Certain students branch beyond scouting before completing their Gold Award project

According to the AP News, in 2021, the youth membership in Girl Scouts declined 30% from about 1.4 million to around 1 million in one year. This decline was due partly to the pandemic but also due to a lack of time and/or a desire to pursue other interests. 

Sophomore Hannah Vanhorn joined Girl Scouts in 4th grade. She joined because she already knew people who were in the troop. Vanhorn eventually quit in 8th grade because she had no time to go to the meetings.

“I was really busy and just didn’t have the time,” Vanhorn said. “My troop slowly started dissolving, and everybody left the troop.”

Through scouting, Vanhorn participated in community projects with her troop to complete her Bronze and Silver awards, service projects where scouts pick a problem in their community and fix it to create lasting change.

Similarly to Girl Scouts, at-school clubs are a great opportunity for students to learn more about their interests. Reagan Tso

“For our Bronze, we built Buddy Benches for schools in the area to help kids make friends,” Vanhorn said. “And for our Silver Award, we made chemo kits for Dell Children’s Hospital with stuff to entertain and help the kids through their treatment, we made roughly 50 kits.”

Hannah also learned how to code while she was still a member of her troop. Despite leaving scouts, the experiences she had gained during her time in scouting helped get be more prepared for the coding class.

“Coding in Girl Scouts helped me prepare for my future. It gave me a head-start in robotics class and prepared me for a tech based world where knowledge like that would be valuable,” Vanhorn said. “It also taught me proven solving skills through trial and error of coding.”

Similarly to Girl Scouts, at-school clubs are a great opportunity for students to learn more about their interests. Through the Society of Women Engineers club, young women get the opportunity to learn about engineering as a career path with the convenience of being at school.

“In terms of already being on campus and just staying after school, it is a lot easier than getting transportation to a different location or having to deal with it on weekends too,” Society of Women Engineers sponsor Alonna Beatty said. 

In the Society of Women Engineers, girls can connect with women who are already in the industry and learn about their experiences. 

“I think it’s very important for young women to have role models,” Beatty said. “Our president from last year came back at the end of the fall semester to talk about her first-semester experience. It was really interesting for [the girls] to hear her firsthand experience in college.”

I was really busy and just didn’t have the time. My troop slowly started dissolving, and everybody left the troop.

— Hannah Vanhorn

Freshman Ella Parmer remains a Girl Scout with the prospect of getting a scholarship for college for being a scout. She initially joined Scouts back in kindergarten because she wanted to make friends and have something fun to do outside of school. 

“I knew I could get a scholarship for being a Girl Scout,” Parmer said. “Being in Girl Scouts can be good for your future.”

Some scholarships can only be awarded to girls who live in a specific area of Texas or to girls who have completed their Gold Award. Some scholarships can be offered from an individual college like Abilene Christian University. They offer Girl Scouts in Texas is a $1,000 scholarship to any student who has obtained the following awards through Girl or Boy Scouts; Eagle Scout, Venturing Silver, Sea Scouting Quartermaster, Gold Award, or the American Heritage Girls Stars and Stripes.

“It’s hard to be a Girl Scout during cookie season and balance that with other things you have to do,” Parmer said. “Once you’re older, a lot of people will leave because they grow out of [Girl Scouts].”

Sophomore Sophie Estrello, ended up leaving Scouts because her troop wasn’t participating in activities she was interested in. Her friends were a part of scouts and she thought it would be a good opportunity for her to help others through volunteer activities.

“We played bingo at a special living home and planted flowers at a retirement home,” Estrello said. “My time in Girl Scouts helped me become well rounded because I had gained customer service skills through selling cookies.”

As Estrello got older she became busier, which made having time for extracurriculars outside of school difficult. She advised anyone who is struggling to balance multiple extracurriculars to choose what activities they’re interested in or will benefit them in the future.

“If you’re thinking about leaving Girl Scouts, just do s will be fine,” Estrello said. “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.” 

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