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Girl Scouts growing in Fayette County

Games were among activities duringDiscover Girl Scouts event Saturday. Pictured, Ilene Taylor stops and does a dance step for Macie Lucas, left, and Jaycee Reeve as Marrisa Taylor, service unit leader, encourages them. Jaycee was supposed to do the same thing that Ilene had done and then enter a circle and stop in front of another girl and do something for her to duplicate.

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

HARRISBURG — When Marrisa Taylor joined Girl Scouting as a leader, she didn’t know anything about it except that her daughter wanted to join. To make that happen, adults needed to step forward and become leaders.

Saturday, she and other adult volunteers ran Discover Girl Scouts, an informational recruiting event to try to interest more girls and adults to join the program. Now starting her fifth year as a troop leader, Taylor has taken on the added responsibility as service unit leader, meaning that she works as a resource person for leaders of all troops in Fayette County. Between the 12 troops, there are about 80 members.

Taylor said one of the biggest reasons girls don’t get to experience Scouting is because parents or other adults don’t become leaders. Every troop is led by adults who help the girls choose what they want to do.

“When I first started, I didn’t know what I was doing. I started as a troop leader and now I have 11 active girls in fifth and sixth grades,” she said.

Melanie Maxwell, membership manager for the area that includes Fayette County, said that like Taylor, “I didn’t know anything about Girl Scouts.” She joined eight years ago and now works as a membership manager for the area that includes Fayette County.

“The biggest thing, we get a lot of girls but not always enough parents. But Central Indiana (Girl Scout council) has a lot of resources” to help teach adults how to work with the girls who join troops. “There’s a lot to learn” but most of it is online. “It’s all about finding things the girls want to do to help them grow.”

Tisha Jarboe, another leader, said Marrisa’s troop is very outdoorsy but others don’t much leave home.”

Taylor said Girl Scout activities center around four pillars: entrepreneurship, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the outdoors and life skills. Troops, which are organized by age groups starting from kindergarten and going through high school, work on various awards that include community service as well as activities in the “pillars.”

“It’s all about creating a better world,” Taylor said.

Her 10-year-old daughter, Ilene, said her favorite activities involve camping and horse back riding. She enjoys outdoor cooking of potatoes, hot dogs and fish that the girls caught. But “one year, we chose to help a kid” who needed presents for Christmas. Last year, her troop cleared a trail at Fayette Central’s nature area.

Bryanne Lucas, an 11-year-old in a different troop, said her troop is “collecting 800 pounds of (plastic) bottle caps to melt them into two benches,” she said, explaining that the troop is learning about recycling and reusing materials. The benches will be similar to a “Friendship Bench” that Girl Scouts put out at Roberts Park.

Maxwell said Saturday’s event resulted in eight girls signing up to be new Girl Scouts. Additional joining activities are being planned for Sept. 24 and 26, she said.

Local troops must be doing something right: of all the areas in the Central Indiana Girl Scout council, Fayette County had the most renewals. The local program is growing, Maxwell said.

For information about local Girl Scouting, contact Maxwell at 317-924-6813 or go online to girlscoutsindiana.org/join.