Brownie Girl Scouts Learning Lessons in Life

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by Sandy Bond

What would you do if you were extremely thirsty and suddenly faced with the prospect of having no safe drinking water?
This question would stymie many adults. But when it was posed to third-graders in Lisa Zahn’s Brownie Girl Scouts group, the girls came up with solutions.
“It’s Your Planet-Love It,” is just one of the journeys that these young women will take this year that are designed to develop their confidence, problem solving, and leadership skills.
In this case, solutions were worked out in the form of role-playing. Working cooperatively and overcoming many obstacles to locate drinkable water, the girls had to bypass pools of water that were polluted and possibly unhealthy. After locating water, once again, they had to work together to transport their precious cargo home carrying it on their heads, as many of their sisters in other lands do.
Learning to carry water on their heads over several man-made obstacles was challenging, Brownie Scout Leader Lisa Zahn said. One of the girls followed the others with a mop to sop up the spills.
“The scouting program has changed,” she said. “The girls themselves drive the curriculum, not the leaders and the guidebooks are written for the girls, not the leaders.”
“When they aren’t working on badges,” Lisa said, “they learn about water and water conservation by studying their Journey book, “Wonders of Water.” The Journey book will culminate with a community service project.”
Baylei Hill, a first-year Brownie, said that she remembers to turn off the water when she is brushing her teeth as her effort in water conservation.
Several agreed that finding trash on their favorite beach could be both unsightly and dangerous to themselves, their family, and even their pet.
This is Lisa’s first year as a Brownie leader but she has been an assistant leader for several years.
Keeping up with 10 energetic 9-year-olds might be a bit intimidating for some. Lisa’s life seems to be tailor made for adventure. She and husband Bryan both teach at Mobridge-Pollock Middle School; she is a mom to daughter Megan, 9, a third-grader, and Jordan, 12, a sixth-grader at Mobridge-Pollock Middle School.
“I chose to be a Girl Scout leader because I believe Girl Scouts helps girls become strong, independent young women through a variety of programs and activities,” she said.
Debby Walker, art teacher at Mobridge-Pollock High School, is helping to teaching the girls about still life painting, and the girls will attend the Mobridge Art Show in April. Any profits that they earn from selling Girl Scout cookies will help pay for a trip to Bismarck where they will attend a program titled, “Purpleicious.”
They will learn the basics of first aid from Diane Dekker, EMT with Mobridge Regional Hospital.
At Christmas they entertained the Golden Living Center residents along with the other Girl Scout troops, giving back to their community in song.
And because one cannot live on Girl Scout cookies alone, for the cooking segment they learned to prepare homemade tortilla chips with a tangy nacho cheese dip, Megan Zahn said.
The last two stanzas in the Girl Scout Law, to Lisa, are the most profound, “…to make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”
“All people, young and old alike, should strive to live by the basic principles of the Girl Scout Law, by being honest, fair, friendly, considerate, responsible, and respectful,” she said.

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