By RACHAEL GRAY
In no other youth program can young girls learn entrepreneurial skills, money management, marketing and sales.
That's according to Chandra Daffer, community development manager for the Hays and Garden City regions for the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.
The Girl Scouts will receive $10,000 from Finney County United Way in 2012. The funds will go toward youth development programs, different council events, and will help with programs in Finney County. Some of the funds will go towards financial aid for scouts. United Way is currently in the midst of its annual fundraising campaign, with a goal of raising $550,000.
"If they don't have the ability to pay to be a Girl Scout, we have financial aid for uniforms, troop dues and other events girls may need to pay for as they decide they want to be a Girl Scout," Daffer said.
She said the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland was one of just six councils that had growth in the past year. The Heartland troop covers 80 counties in Kansas with regional offices in Emporia, Garden City, Hays and Salina. In Garden City and Holcomb, 277 girls are involved, along with 76 adult volunteers.
Daffer said organizers would like to see that number continue to grow.
"There's just so many different things girls can gain. They have leadership to decide what type of events they are involved in, and they can decide on their trip, too," she said.
Trips are educational experiences to enhance learning about different experiences and places.
As the girls get older, they have the opportunity to participate in the Girl Congress as sixth- through 12th-graders.
"It's exactly like Congress. They make decisions on what program they want to see, what trips they want to take and really help enact that girl's leadership," she said.
As a part of Girl Scout cookie sales, which begin in January, the girls learn how to implement a sales pitch, learn how to react when customers decline, how to overcome being declined and learn money management.
In 2010, the council sold 1.5 million boxes of cookies. The top seller was a grade school student in Salina.
"She sold more than 2,000 boxes of cookies and interacted with over $8,000. I don't know what other program you can be an entrepreneur and be in second or third grade," Daffer said.
In additions to all of the lessons, the girls have fun.
For 2012, they'll be planning their 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts celebrations. In Garden City, scouts will plan the "Thin Mint Sprint," a 5K run and fun run next spring. In April 2012, the girls will be attending a Girl Scouts Go Green in Greensburg event, where they'll be camping and doing service.
"It's just a lot of fun to be involved," she said.
For more information on becoming a Girl Scout or volunteer, visit kansasgirlscouts.org or call 276-7061.
In addition to the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, the following agencies also will receive United Way Funds in 2012: Meals on Wheels, United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; Garden City Family YMCA; Kansas Children's Service League; Santa Fe Trail Council Boy Scouts; Catholic Social Services; Family Crisis Services; Spirit of the Plains, CASA; The Salvation Army; Habitat for Humanity; Finney County RSVP, Inc.; Garden City Chapter of the Red Cross; Miles of Smiles; Russell Child Development Center; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; and Community Day Care.
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland
Contact: Chandra Daffer
Address: 114 Grant Ave.