At 3 p.m as school is letting out, most kids run out of the building as quickly as they can to get home. But on recent Tuesday and Friday afternoons, a group of young girls have been headed in the opposite direction, filling school cafeterias throughout Hoboken with crafts, laughter, and song during meetings for their new Daisy Scout troop.
Troops 12038 and 12034 are brand new additions to Hoboken, formed by a few industrious local mothers to meet the needs of the growing population of young children in our city.
While there are troops that cater to older girls (both Brownies and Cadettes are also currently active in Hoboken), the Daisies are specifically geared towards kindergarteners and first graders.
The scouts need more volunteers to the lead the troops.
“The number of responses was overwhelming,” said another co-leader, Cathy Tennaro. “We have 56 girls registered as Daisies and have had to turn away many more because we don’t have any other leader volunteers.”
The impressive turnout has also made it difficult to find a space to accommodate the troops, but the girls have been resilient and gather in large numbers at their varying meeting spots.
Asked what she enjoys most about the weekly meetings, Olivia, 5, responded, “Snacks!”
Nora, 6, said, “We sing songs, do projects… I made new friends here.”
Olivia, Nora, and their new Daisy friends celebrated their first major event on Oct. 8 at their investiture ceremony. They received uniforms, recited the Girl Scout promise, and were formally welcomed into the scouts. Now that they were official, the planning of activities for the year began.
“We have some ideas in mind, but it’s really up to the girls,” said Goldfinger. “The Hoboken Police will be stopping by the meeting to teach the girls how to cross the street so they can go on outings.”
On the slate of possible upcoming activities are volunteering at the homeless shelter and a backyard camping trip.
In addition to the things you might already associate with the Girl Scouts such as merit badges and cookie sales, scouts these days are taking the group to another level by utilizing Internet tools.
A private blog is used to communicate messages and upcoming events to parents, as well as to keep them in the loop with meeting recaps and pictures.
“My mom was a girl scout,” said Annabel, 6. “I saw all her badges, I tried on her sash… I’m excited to get my own.”
Her mother, Beth Slifirski, sat nearby watching her and holding Annabel’s baby sister, who bounced to a tune the girls were singing, another Daisy in the making.
Inspired by her own positive experience with the scouts, Beth sought out a troop for her daughter through the GSHNJ and was led to the new Daisy troop in Hoboken.
“I know I enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s nice, wholesome fun.”
And the co-leaders agreed.
“For me it’s all about the service,” said Vrinda Deva, the newest addition to the leader volunteers. “The law and the rules from the Girl Scouts are not just words; it means something. Service, sisterhood and values, those are the things that are missing today. I hope that’s what they get out of this.”
By the smiles on their faces and eager eyes ready to participate, her wishes already appear to be coming true.
For more information about the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Council, please visit www.gshnj.org. If you are interested in joining a local troop or becoming a volunteer, contact Margaret Ramos at (908) 746-8200 (x142) or email@example.com.