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Girls Scouts sing along in D.C.

July 09, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 225 in Funkstown recently joined Scouts from around the globe at a sing-along to celebrate the organization's 90th anniversary.

Scout Leader Theresa Rossiter chaperoned Scouts Stephanie Rossiter, Lauren Marriner and Kitty Hoffman on the June 8 trip to the sing-along on the National Mall at the base of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

The Funkstown group traveled to Washington with other Girl Scouts in the Smithsburg Service Area, and spent the day singing and swapping momentos with about 120,000 other Scouts from Indiana to Italy, members said.

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The "Still Singing After All These Years" event was sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Cluster of Girl Scout Councils.

"I thought it would be extraordinary for the girls to meet that many Girl Scouts from around the world," said Rossiter, who has led the 10-member Funkstown Troop since September. "I didn't know if they would have this opportunity again."

The girls staked out a spot on the Mall, enjoyed a picnic lunch, and sang along to such tunes as "All Together" and "Make New Friends," they said. A large stage held song leaders who set the tone for vocalists of all ages in the audience, Rossiter said.

"It was amazing to see Daisies, Juniors, Brownies, Cadets and Seniors all singing along together," said Lauren, 10.

Stephanie, 10, especially enjoyed seeing the creativity that Scouts everywhere put into crafting the items they brought to trade with other Scouts, she said.

Funkstown Troop members created 400 miniature first aid kits - consisting of a match, safety pin, flint, Band-Aid and alcohol swab, all packaged in a film container - to swap with other girls at the event, they said.

They traded for such goodies as small U.S. flags, beaded necklaces, bookmarks and pins ornamented with everything from the Girl Scout Promise sign to butterflies and small sleeping bags. A Troop from Silver Spring, Md., swapped silver springs. Italian "Girl Guides" traded for boot-shaped pins. New York City Scouts gave apple-shaped pins.

"Even though we were from different places, we had friendship and kindness and sharing and doing good deeds in common because we're all Girl Scouts," said Kitty, 9.

Juliette Gordon Low launched the Girl Scout tradition on March 12, 1912, when she gathered 18 girls in Savannah, Ga., for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting.

Almost a century later, the organization continues to offer girls of all races, ages, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities the chance to thrive by building the real-life skills they'll need as adults, according to the Girl Scouts Web site.

"It's kind of something that teaches you about how you should act and kindness and everything," Lauren said.

"It's very fun, too," Kitty added.

The sing-along is but one of many opportunities that Rossiter has facilitated for her 9- and 10-year-old Troop members.

"I think she's been a godsend to the girls," said Susie Hoffman, Kitty's mother.

Troop members have participated in activities ranging from camping to caroling, they said. They've learned about proper pet care through research that included a tour of the Animal Health Clinic in Funkstown, and explored different cultures during World Thinking Day 2002.

The girls visited with nursing home residents to earn their Community Service Award. They honed their knowledge of Girl Scout history by attending a Juliette Low tour at Hagerstown Community College.

The scouts have garnered such survival skills as starting fire from flint and tying effective knots, they said.

And they've forged lasting friendships through troop membership.

"I had a terrific group of girls this year," Rossiter said. "They throw you a 'thank you' when you don't expect one - and that makes it all worthwhile."

Troop 225 meets the first, third and fifth Wednesday of every month during the school year at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Funkstown.

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