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home : news : news Friday, April 29, 2016

1/4/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Having fun, making memories. Sherry Bierman works on a craft project with members of her Cadette troop (clockwise, from left) Abbey Strong, Bierman, Emily Bierman, Josie Smith and Amber Meyer. Bierman also has been the Girls Scouts’ service unit director for western Clinton county for the past two years. Anyone interested in volunteering with Girl Scouts may contact Bierman via e-mail at serviceunit847@gmail.com, or by calling 563-659-3619. Photo by Kate Howes
Area Girl Scouts celebrate 100th anniversary

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

This year Girl Scouts across the country will be celebrating the organization's 100th anniversary, and members of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) are no exception.

One way in which GSEIWI is commemorating the occasion is with a book, a collection of personal essays and photos entitled "Courage, Confidence, Character: 100 Years of Leadership."

The book tells the story of people - mostly women, but a few men, too - from Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois and the impact Girl Scouting had on them.

Nancy Renkes, vice president of fund development who oversaw the book project, notes, "The stories of these women and men show how Girl Scouts teaches leadership through experience."

Two of the women featured in the book are Janice Fisher and Kate Hansen, both of Grand Mound.

The pair shared the story of a trip they took with eight Cadette and Senior Scouts in 1994 to Savannah, Ga., also known as the "home" of Girl Scouting as its founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was born there.

"There aren't enough words to share the feelings and experiences we gained from this trip," Fisher and Hansen relate. "Our girls, who would not wear their uniforms and sashes around their hometown, wore them proudly all over Savannah. They were infused with the beauty and majesty that is Savannah, and they grew even prouder to be Girl Scouts.

"The people in the town were very gracious to us, and when we commented on that to our carriage driver, he responded with a smile, 'Ma'am, the Girl Scouts pay our salaries.'"

The book contains a timeline of Girl Scouts here and nationally.

Today, Girl Scouts is 19,000 girls and 5,000 volunteers strong in the GSEIWI council's 38 counties.

Diane Nelson, who is the GSEIWI CEO and grew up in Delmar, also contributed her experience to the book.

"As we look to the next 100 years, we look forward to the opportunity to help girls become leaders," Nelson notes, "to discover, connect and take action, just like Rose Filloon did when she led my troop. It is our vision to provide every girl the opportunity to join Girl Scouts. When she does, we will exceed her expectations."

The limited-edition books are available at any of the council's shops in West Burlington, Rock Island, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo. Persons also may call (800) 798-0833 to place an order.

Local scouts prepare to sell cookies, celebrate anniversary

To gear up for this year's cookie sales, the GSEIWI is holding a cookie rally Sunday, Jan. 8, 2-4 p.m. at the DeWitt Community Center.

The rally is open to any girl who would like to attend. Any girls who are not already registered Girl Scouts will need to pay a registration fee.

A number of fun activities are being planned, including learning how to ZUMBA®, and there will be cookies to sample.

Sherry Bierman of Welton is the leader of a Cadette troop, consisting of girls in grades 6-8, for four years and has worked as the service unit director for western Clinton County for the past two years.

Bierman says the skills girls can gain from their involvement in Girl Scouts and the friendships they can establish are reasons enough for youngsters to join.

"One thing Girl Scouts does is helps young girls understand what community service is," she notes. "There is a big demand for that and they learn how they can give back to their community."

Community service projects are a main focus for Bierman's Cadettes.

Past projects include purchasing bedding for members of an area family who lost their home in a fire; making desserts for the teachers at the middle and high schools during parent/teacher conferences (the PTO provides refreshments for teachers at Ekstrand Elementary); and going to Westwing Place to sing Christmas carols and make ornaments to decorate the tree and holiday cards.

For the girls themselves, being involved in Girl Scouts allows them to do whatever any other young girls like to do - have lots of fun.

"I actually like volunteering and helping other people," Emily Bierman shares.

"I like it when we make different crafts and then we swap them with other troops," Josie Smith adds.

One service the Girl Scouts will be offering area young girls is a "Safe Sitter" program, which is being put on by representatives of the Dubuque YWCA and will teach participants how to be good baby-sitters.

For more information on the program, or for anyone interested in volunteering or registering to become a Girl Scout, contact Bierman via e-mail at serviceunit847@gmail.com, or by calling 563-659-3619.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. at the DeWitt Methodist Church.

Anyone is welcome to attend and find out what Girl Scouts is all about, Bierman says.

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