Girl Scouts nationwide, including Tulsa-area troops, are celebrating the organization’s 100th birthday by pledging to make a cleaner planet for future generations.
Members of Stephanie Rainwater’s Girl Scouts troop, front row, Remington and Emma; second row, Liberty, Casidy and Cheridyn; third row, Kaylee, Molly and Traci; fourth row, Chloe and Juliann (in recycling container); and, back row, Dezzarai, Nicole, Olivia and Huxley, have been working to increase recycling efforts in Tulsa as part of the Forever Green campaign.
A birthday usually serves as an excuse to walk a little on the selfish side. It is a day to have your cake and eat it, too — then leave behind the crumbs and trash from the party for someone else to clean later.
Well, the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) hope to set an example on an important birthday by not only cleaning up after themselves but also spreading a little green throughout Green Country — and inspiring others to do the same.
To celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary, GSUSA has launched the Girl Scouts Forever Green campaign. This national project encourages Girl Scouts to improve their environment while also motivating their friends, families and communities to do their part to ensure a clean Earth for generations to come.
In eastern Oklahoma, Girl Scouts voted to be green-minded by decreasing waste — focusing on reducing the number of plastic bottles and bags that end up in landfills.
“As they grow up and become our future as adults, these girls are only going to be concerned about and want to protect what they know,” says Stephanie Rainwater, a biologist and Girl Scouts troop leader. “If they don’t get out there and learn it, experience it and know it, then it just falls by the wayside.”
This spring, troops participating in the Forever Green initiative will brainstorm ways to reduce the amounts of plastic bottles and bags in the communities around them.
Girl Scouts groups will also choose an area in their communities they cherish and devise ways to maintain those locations for a greener and cleaner future, says Beth Turner, GSUSA Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma marketing specialist.
This may include painting trashcans so they are more visible in a park or planting flowers in a neighborhood.
Then, in April, they can share their ideas and projects with other troops and community members on the Girl Scouts website in an effort to spread green projects across Green Country.
Remington “Remy,” a 10-year-old member of Rainwater’s troop, says encouraging others to participate in these green projects is an important part of keeping the planet healthy.
“If only some people do it, it’s not enough,” she says. “We all use the Earth, so we should all take care of it.”
Remy and her fellow troop members have been creative with their ideas for reducing waste in the Tulsa community. Partnering with the Tulsa Master Recyclers organization, Rainwater’s troop created recycling bins for plastic bottles to be used at community events that draw in large numbers of people.
Unlike the cardboard recycling bins used in the past, these new bins, made from donated wood, are much heavier and sturdier, which will keep them from toppling over and spilling on windy days. Additionally, Girl Scouts who craft these wooden bins earn their “woodworking badge,” an added bonus for Rainwater’s troop of girls, who love seeing their creations positively affect the community.
Rainwater says that although the Girl Scouts have been green-minded for a century, this year’s centennial serves as a benchmark to move toward a more vibrantly green future. And the girls in her troop could not be more excited about such a goal.
“It’s cool to learn about the environment and realize how important it is to keep our land healthy for years to come,” 11-year-old Girl Scout Cheridyn says. “That way, people in the future can enjoy it, too, and learn how to take care of it.”
Editor’s note: Girl Scouts’ last names withheld for privacy.
Celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouting at an event near you
- March: Paint the Town Green. Green ribbons on trees, birthday messages on marquees, notes in newsletters — show your support and well wishes for 100 years of Girl Scouting
- March 11-17: Girl Scout Week
- March 8-12: 100-Hour Fire. The fire will be ignited from a flame that has traveled across the council. Troops will create wish bundles (small twigs bundled together with a wish for future Girl Scouts) to read aloud and throw into the fire.
- March 12: Birthday Broadcast. Live closing ceremony at 100-Hour Fire. Participate virtually by going to www.girlscoutseastok.org.
- March 21: Girl Scout Day at the State Capitol
- Girl Scout Cookie Sale Ends March 25: Find Girl Scout Cookies near you using the Cookie Locator online at www.girlscoutseastok.org or by downloading the Cookie Locator Mobile App.
- April 18: Tulsa Juliette Low Leadership Society Celebration Luncheon at Southern Hills Country Club
- April: Girl Scouts Forever Green Take Action Project. Find out how you can take an eco-pledge, learn to make a difference and sign up for mobile alerts for going green in 2012.
- April and May: Camp reunions at all Girl Scout camp facilities
- Aug. 2: Event with featured speaker Elizabeth Smart
- Aug. 4: Girl Scouts Forever Green Eco-Conference at Camp Wah-Shah-She
- September: Council-wide Birthday Bash
- November: Girl Scouts Forever Green to help support Route 66 Marathon’s green initiatives
Keep an eye out for the Girl Scout Flash Mob Dance during 2012.