Deb Malewski

Contributing Writer

So often we hear “There’s nothing to do …” from our kids. Some of our young women, though, have found a way to keep busy, to learn, and to have fun. They joined the Girl Scouts. There are eight different troops in Eaton Rapids alone.

The Girl Scouts offer a wide variety of activities and experiences to interest girls of all ages. Girls can start out in Daisies (kindergarten and first grade) and advance from Brownies (second and third grades) through Juniors (grades fourth and fifth) to Cadettes (sixth through eighth grades) and then on to Senior Girl Scouts (ninth and 10th grades). In 2011 a new level was added, Ambassadors (11th and 12th grade). The higher a girl goes in Scouting, the more independence she receives in her projects.

We recently have seen Rachel Loren, an Eaton Rapids Senior Girl Scout, working on her Gold Award, which is the equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts. To achieve this award, the Girl Scout must find a problem and solve it with a sustainable solution. Rachel is working to improve Oak Ridge Park, one of the city’s newest parks.

Susan Kinaitis is the area leader for Eaton Rapids and has been a troop leader for about six years. Her passion for the volunteer position is obvious as she talks about Scouting. 

“We are there to make the girls stronger,” she said. “Each one of the girls I consider ‘my girl’ when they are with me.”

Helen Broom co-leaders the group with Kinaitis. They both are very active in making sure the girls they lead are provided with the opportunity to grow and excel in the world. One of the special projects of their troop are the three “Little Libraries” we see around town.

The organization is run completely by volunteers at the local level. Adults are always needed to serve as leaders, including men. You don’t have to have a child in the troop to be a leader; all that’s needed is a commitment for a couple of hours a week. Leaders, co-leaders, cookie moms, treat moms, and supply person(s) are all needed to make sure these girls achieve their success.

Compassion, courage, confidence, character, leadership, entrepreneurship and active citizenship are some of the ideals that are built upon through Girl Scouts. Financial aid to provide the supplies needed to be a Girl Scout is available. Small college scholarships are available, as well.

Girl Scouts is still limited to girls only and is the largest girl-lead business in the world. They feel that limiting it to girls is a way to focus the organization and to stress that there’s no limit to what girls can do.

The Eaton Rapids Girl Scouts are conducting a registration drive on Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Methodist Church in Eaton Rapids.

“I turned my dreams into adventures, and I am going to change the world. I am a Girl Scout.”