PROSPERITY — Seeing a need in the Newberry County area, April Hughes, Johnette Kinard, and Melanie Thrower helped to create a Wightman Church Girls Scout troop, giving young girls from Wightman United Methodist Church a chance to be a part of the troop.
Hughes’ and Kinard’s daughters have been a part of the Girl Scout program for several years, but it wasn’t until a recent recruitment night that they realized the need for more troops in the Newberry County area. Mountains to Midlands is the branch of the Girl Scouts over Newberry County.
“They had about 15 girls show up interested in the program, and there was nowhere for them to go,” Hughes said.
Because of the growing need for more Girl Scout troops, Hughes said they began a Wightman troop solely for church members.
“We just didn’t want to take on more than we could handle,” Hughes said.
Their new troop has 15 members, made up of either church members, or those that have been actively attending Wightman for some time. Although Girl Scouts can continue the program until their senior year in high school, Wightman’s group is made up of Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, which range from kindergarten age to fifth grade.
To begin their own troop, Hughes said, was simple. Starting a troop begins with registering online on the Girl Scouts website, for the Newberry County location, the website is www.gssc-mm.org. Upon registering, volunteers immediately go through a background check before completing an online course.
After the online course, volunteers meet with the unit coordinator over the area they wish to volunteer with. The coordinator explains to volunteers how the Girl Scout program works, their focal points, and volunteer expectations.
“It was very easy to get started,” Hughes said. “The girl scouts have a website for each area of South Carolina for volunteers.”
Wightman Girl Scouts’ first outing as a group was to volunteer to help at their church pumpkin patch.
“The girls got the chance to take turns checking out customers, taking money, and getting pumpkins into cars,” Hughes said. “It wasn’t necessarily one of their badge levels, but it was a chance for them to earn a fun badge.”
Hughes said the next outing as a group will probably be to participate in the Prosperity Christmas parade in December. In January, the troop will have the opportunity to participate in a sleepover night at the S.C. State Museum, along with other Girl Scouts from South Carolina.
The most important value Hughes believes the girls can take from being a part of the Girls Scout program is their self worth.
“Having friends, and getting to experience being a part of something like this gives them a feeling of self importance,” Hughes said. “It really lifts up their self esteem, when they can work together for a common goal.”
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.