Girls Scouts focus on important life lessons

Editor’s Note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

PARKERSBURG – While most may immediately think of the trademark cookies, the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council works to provide girls with many more opportunities than just the chance to sell cookies.

The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley provides funding to the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council, providing the chance for thousands of local girls to participate in special occasions within the Girl Scouts and in Scouting at large.

The Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council received $6,000 in United Way Alliance funds over the past year, said Denise Davis, Director of Membership Services.

These funds have helped 2,037 girls and adults in the Mid-Ohio Valley area, Davis said.

Adult leaders are served through United Way Alliance funding by helping to pay for background checks, training and booklets to use with their troops, Davis said. The cost of background checks is $10, and handbooks cost $15.

More directly, the United Way funding provides girls who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to participate in Girl Scout programs with the chance to choose from multiple participation options, Davis said.

The funding pays the $15 cost of many area girls for a year’s membership, as well as paying $35 for underprivileged girls to attend the various summer camps and special programs that Girl Scouts offers.

Although the girls are aware of the fact that they receive financial assistance, they may not always be aware of exactly where it comes from, Davis said.

Any girl who requests financial assistance is granted it, Davis said. The Black Diamond Council does not judge any girl based on her particular financial needs, knowing that extenuating circumstances can often be the difference between affording participation or not, she said.

“It is extremely important to have these United Way funds to provide these opportunities for the girls,” said Davis.

There are five different ways that girls can participate in Scouting nowadays, Davis said. The most traditional is through the local Girl Scout troop. Girls can also participate through camping experiences, through special program series, through travel, and through virtual connections, Davis said.

All five of the opportunities still allow the girls to focus on the fundamentals of leadership that have always been important to the Girl Scouts, Davis said.

Modern Girl Scouts obtain leadership skills through discovery of the world around them, connections they make with that world, and taking action to make a difference in their world, she said.

Even selling those boxes of cookies door-to-door helps the Girl Scouts learn important life skills, Davis said. Through their efforts, each girl learns about goal-setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics, she said.

And thanks to the funding from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, more than 2,000 underprivileged girls have the opportunity to learn these important lessons and skills, Davis said.