When local governments began enacting stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic last March, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) and Girl Scouts across the country were forced to go virtual to continue their programs. Now, almost one year later, what began as a quick fix has become routine and it looks like virtual programming will be part of the ongoing Girl Scout experience – even when in-person meetings are back on the troop year schedule.
Tameika Hopkins, the community troop manager for GSCCC, has embraced the virtual model and says it has introduced and served girls during a particularly difficult and challenging time.
“In the beginning, we struggled,” she said. “We’ve always tried to make the meetings and activities fun – not like an obligation or like a class. Our goal is to have girls engaged and using the Girl Scout program in ways that can be done with parent help or the help of a volunteer.”
Hopkins leads a staff team who serves areas identified as less resourced areas or those underserved, for example where Title I schools are located or where there are families that have not had a history with Girl Scouts. Her goal is to expand opportunities for girls to participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, not matter their background. She has been on the GSCCC staff since 2018 has grown the community troop initiative, creating a number of partnerships with schools and community-based organizations that includes the Boys and Girls Club.
This spring, she has started a new community troop program in Edenton at the Boys and Girls Club with the help of one of their representatives. The girls worked on the Girl Scout Space Science Badge where they had lessons on stars and constellations.
According to Hopkins, the badge kits are designed to give girls a lot of hands-on activities that can be led with the help of an adult or easy activities that can be done individually.
“No matter how it is delivered, the STEM activities excite the girls and nudge them a little further in their interest of STEM,” Hopkins said.
Partnerships such as the one with the Edenton Boys and Girls Club partnerships are important in helping Girl Scouts give every girl the Girl Scout advantage. Financial assistance for membership is available to all girls through the partnerships.
“We believe that every girl deserves the opportunity to succeed and find ways to change the world,” Hopkins said. “Girls in some of the areas we serve don’t have transportation, parental support or the financial resources to be part of Girl Scouting, and through community troop partnerships we can see that these are not barriers for them to become a Girl Scout. Participating in a traditional Girl Scout Troop can be challenging for girls when there are not enough volunteers at their school or in their neighborhood. Through our outreach efforts, all girls have access to a safe and quality experience.”
Girl Scout program goals aim to give girls a strong sense of self, positive values, the confidence to seek new challenges, skills to be problem solvers and the know how to build healthy relationships.
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast serves nearly 6,000 girls in grades K through 12 with the help of more than 5,000 adult volunteers in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. To volunteer, reconnect, donate or join, visit www.gsccc.org or call 1-800-77SCOUT.