Girl Scouts look for volunteers

As part of KPCC's "Season's Givings" series, Kitty Felde reports the girl scouts are in need of volunteers to be troupe leaders.

Tiara Pleasant: Did we – we just decided that we wanted to do a booth, right?
Group: Yeah, we are going to do a booth.
Pleasant: Yeah, we are.

Kitty Felde: It's almost Girl Scout cookie season. And the scouts in troop 4415 at Zion Hill Baptist Church in South L.A. are debating what they'll do for the January kickoff fair. But scouting's about more than cookies. It's about leadership and college prep and sisterhood. Tenth-grader Taylor Willis joined up when she was in kindergarten.

Taylor Willis: I like the things that we do. I like to experience new things and meet people. It's like a family. It's helped me become a more well-rounded person and look at – have different views on different aspects on things in life and situations and how to handle things.

Felde: Troop 4415 learned the meaning of "be prepared" on a trip to Florida when the girls ran smack into Hurricane Charlie.

Deborah Harris: Some of the girls were panicking. Some weren't. The hotel restaurant was shut down. We had to scurry for food at the nearest local store. We had to stay shut in. It was amazing.

Felde: Deborah Harris – or "Miss Deby," as the girls call her – is the troop leader. It's her 20th year in scouting.

Harris: I didn't become a volunteer right away, but I was one those hands on parents. So once I put my kids in it, I'm in it. There's a need. There's a need for leadership.

Felde: Leadership from adult volunteers – like the three co-leaders who work with the troop. But also leadership from the girls.

Harris: We're at a point now, we're coaching. So these girls come in here and they run their own meetings. Even if we create an agenda for them, they can run it. Because I teach them how to be off the cuff.

Speaking is real important to me – being able to speak – because everything in life is about selling yourself at some point in time: interviewing, getting ready for college, networking with somebody you don't know.

Felde: The troop meets twice a month. New leaders get 10 hours of training in first aid, CPR, and the basics of Girl Scouting. Deborah Harris says there's a need for volunteers.

Harris: It's a gut thing. It's one of those, "I want to do something for someone else." That's really what it's about, because this is not always about us. It's about the girl. The girl is first in Scouting.

Felde: To ensure the future of scouting at Zion Hill, Miss Deby created an alumni group. Twenty-year-old Tiffany Henderson has returned to scouting to lead the Daisy and Brownie troop.

Tiffany Henderson: I wanted to give the younger girls the same opportunity that I had. Just having a sisterhood within Girl Scouts and going on different trips and things like that, and just being able to have mentors like the leaders here. The leaders here are great and I wanted to walk in their footsteps.

Felde: You can find out more information at GirlScouts.org.