July 20, 2008

Realignment Affects Girl Scouts Nationwide

By Kim Hunter, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

Jul. 20--In an effort to serve more girls, three councils in northeastern Oklahoma have banded together to serve 30 counties.

They used to cover only 14 counties, but the coverage area now stretches from Ponca City to Antlers and includes Muskogee.

Their expansion began combining Girl Scouts of Magic Empire Council of Tulsa; Girl Scouts of Bluestem of Bartlesville; and Girl Scouts Tiak Council of McAlester. United, these three councils form the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma.

"We came together hoping to serve more large number of girls sufficiently," said Kelly Couch, outreach specialist.

The change was nationwide and reduced the number of councils from 312 to 109 community-based councils. The realignment of the Girl Scouts took place to improve the programs.

"Parents and kids will have access to better training," Couch said. "We're consolidating all training, and there will be more online opportunities."

Natovya White, 8, of Muskogee has been in girl scouts for two years. She is now a Brownie and part of the Whispering Pines Troop. She plans to stay in the program until she is at least 16.

"I joined the Girl Scouts because where I live there is no program, so me and my cousin decided to go into Girl Scouts," White said.

The programs range from kindergarten to 12th grade, and each program has a different name. The realignment may have been nationwide, but the promise is unchanging.

"Our mission remains the same," said Becky Graheck, communication specialist. "To build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place."

According to a recent poll conducted by the Girl Scouts of the USA, the more years a girl spends in Girl Scouting, the less likely she is to become a teen mom, experiment with drugs and alcohol and drop out of school. And the more likely she is to feel better about herself and advance her education beyond high school years.

What to do

For more information on how to join Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, call Kelly Couch, outreach specialist, at 683-7738 or visit the Web site at www.GirlScoutsEastOK.org.

Levels of Girl Scouts

--Daisy Girl Scouts, kindergarten and first grade.

--Brownies Girl Scouts, second and third grade.

--Junior Girl Scouts, fourth and fifth grade.

--Cadet Girls Scouts, sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

--Senior Scouts, ninth and 10th grade.

--Ambassadors, 11th and 12th grade.


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Copyright (c) 2008, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

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