The reading pals program is something special to Girl Scout Service Unit 165, it’s a program to build the girls’ self confidence by encouraging them to read. It also provides a time for the retirees to be visited and enjoy the presence of the girls.
“After she served them cookies and water, sweet Eva, a 2nd grade Brownie on the autism spectrum, did an excellent job reading ‘The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark’ to a couple of residents,” said Lowry Manders, Lake Highlands Girl Scout troop leader. “She had brought this book from home because she remembered there was a fish tank there at the Villages – so sweet.”
One of the eighth grade Cadettes has a silver award project that she’s leading at VOLH in the Memory Care Unit. The girls help residents create a journal about themselves and their lives for the retirees.
The organization was founded in 1912 with the intention of breaking social and class barriers. It was one of the first organizations to integrate people of color into the organization.
“It’s just important that we can continue that legacy, especially in our neighborhood of Lake Highlands, people might stay in their own little area or subsection, but if you just go a few blocks away, there is a lot of diversity,” Manders says. “We’re trying to reach out to everybody and trying to connect those truths through a service unit so they can have exposure to people of different colors and background too.”
Girl Scouts also provides them with the opportunities to speak up and be leaders.
“We just want to make sure we’re empowering girls to know they can do anything, they’re learning how to grow the confidence, character and citizenship that they need to help be world changers and we’re teaching them that small actions can make a difference,” Manders says.
The Lake Highlands Girl Scouts also had a rally at Flag Pole Hill and wore “Super-Pal” capes that said, “be fearless.” The troop has had spirit nights at Andy’s and future plans for organizations like Feed Lake Highlands, teaching the girls different types of life skills.
“I just really believe that we’re investing into the future.”
Find out more information about joining here. The Girl Scouts also provide financial aid for families.