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Community service, fitness part of experience for Raleigh Girl Scout troop

The ten girls of Troop 896 in north Raleigh have been together since kindergarten. And their leaders, three of their moms, are working year round to help keep it running.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

A flier with information about a new Girl Scout troop in their kindergarten folders started it all.

Nine years later, the girls of Girl Scout Troop 896 in north Raleigh are working toward their Silver Award. And their leaders, three of their moms, are working year round to help keep it all running.

The troop contacted me a couple of months ago after I wrote about local daddy-daughter dances. They were organizing a community dance and book drive for WakeMed, which was a couple of weeks ago. I'd been wanting to feature moms who led a Girl Scout troop. So I was excited to hear from them.

Now let me just note that there are a lot of Girl Scouts in our area. In the 41 central and eastern North Carolina counties covered by the Girls Scouts - North Carolina Coastal Pines, there are more than 32,500 girl members and 10,360 volunteers, communications manager Nancy Voiland tells me. Many of those volunteers are moms.

In Troop 896, it's Michelle Blau who got it started years ago. Her fellow leaders, Kelly Graham and Dawn Wood, joke that she's a Girl Scout "lifer." She's pretty much been involved in Girl Scouts all her life.

Blau, Graham and Wood told me that Girl Scouts has opened doors for their girls, allowing them to be exposed to all kinds of different experiences. They've done everything from fish and clean the coins in the fountains at Triangle Town Center to give to the SPCA to film a music video for local elementary schools on going green. They train together to run a 5K each year. And they've camped and participated in other special events.

What I find remarkable about the troop is that these ten girls, now eighth graders, have stayed together. In this transient world where it's often difficult to maintain personal connections for long, they've managed it. Some have moved to different schools. One even moved to China for a few years. But they've all stayed together.

"It's the one thing that will remain constant," Graham said.

And it's allowed the moms to stay in touch with what's going on in their daughters lives, something that can get more difficult to do as they get older.

"It's a really good way to stay in touch with our girls," Graham said. "If they don't tell us, they'll tell her or tell her," she said, turning to Blau and Wood.

Hear more from the moms and girls of Troop 896 in the video.

And check the North Carolina Coastal Pines website for more information about Girls Scouts in the area. Girl Scouts is aimed at girls from age 5 to their high school graduation, Voiland tells me. It's never too late to get involved, she said. And there are all kinds of projects and programs that girls can get participate in - from science and technology to community service and leadership.
And of course, they can sell cookies. Cookie booths are planned at stores and elsewhere across the region through March 13. Click here to find the nearest cookie booth near you. (Dangerous information, I know).
The Girl Scouts also offers a variety of overnight and day camps in the area for both member and non-members. Registration for the general public begins Wednesday. Click here for more about the camps.

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