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Dublin Elementary School Girl Scouts Rally to Support the One Warm Coat Project

February 5, 2016

DSC_0752DUBLIN-CA–Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, GA in 1912. Over one hundred years later, there are close to 2 million Scouts actively participating in the United States. Further, the movement has spread to over 100 countries around the globe. The Girl Scout mission centers on building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

Earlier this week, had the opportunity to meet with the members of Troop 31193. This is a group of eight 4th graders that all happen to be students at Dublin Elementary School. We sat down in the MPR to discuss different items and we asked specific questions. Here are some of their responses:

Q: Why do you like being in Girl Scouts?

A: “We like earning badges, making new friends, providing community service and doing projects together.”

Q: What are some of the fun activities that you get to do?

A: “Of course, there are the annual cookie sales. We also like to ice skate we recently went tent camping at Twin Canyon.”

Q: You troop is currently involved in a very important project called “One Warm Coat.” Why did 31193 agree to take this on?

A: “Well it sounded like a project that would be a lot of fun. More importantly, we want to help other people. During the winter, there are young people and adults that don’t have a warm coat. Once the drive is over, we’ll be able to choose a charity that will deliver these coats.”

DSC_0753So, in the spirit of providing community service, it often makes sense to partner with other organizations. One Warm Coat actually has its genesis in San Francisco. It started in 1992 with a Thanksgiving weekend coat drive. Today, they provide a platform and an online guide for any group that wishes to contribute/participate.

At Dublin Elementary School, the coat bin resides in the multi-purpose room right adjacent to the stage. Donations will be gladly accepted through February 19th. To gain further insight this troop’s activities, we reached out its leader, Kathy Goldstein. For Kathy, this is a second go around. She not was the leader for her daughter’s troop, but is continuing on in the role with her granddaughter as a member.  Please explain how and why the Troop agreed to participate in the One Warm Coat program.

Kathy Goldstein: “Our troop has participated in a One Warm Coat drive at Dublin Elementary for the last three years.  The first year, the girls were invited to help an older troop leading it by making posters and talking about donations.  This year they wanted to coordinate the drive themselves. As we made posters, we talked about how everybody has a coat in their closet that no longer fits. The girls made it personal by thinking about children who are cold and what getting a coat would mean to that child.  Our discussion was boisterous so I can’t say who said what, but one of the girls said a coat is not a lot to ask each person to donate.  And someone else pointed out that one coat is everything to someone who’s cold.  The mission of One Warm Coat is that all coats are donated to those in need, not sold in a non-profit store.  The girls are currently working on identifying the recipient of their coat drive.” The feedback from the girls is that they enjoy working on projects and spending time together.  Please cite examples of how they have shared their time over the past few years.

DSC_0749Goldstein: “One of the things I enjoy most with this group is their energy.  They like doing and exploring.  They enjoy camping and we have progressed from a group overnight with other troops to mother/daughter tent camping.  Last fall, we took it further by camping in an old style army tent, which does not have sealed, screened sides.  We cooked dinner in the dark.  When it was time for bed the girls laid out their bags on the wooden platform.  Someone shined her flashlight up and we discovered we were sharing our accommodations with three giant spiders. I think they heard us in the next county!!!  But then I escorted the spiders outside on the end of a broom, the girls all settled down for the night and slept like babies.  They cooked their own breakfast the next morning, they got to be “hoppers” for the first time at the group meal (hoppers are the server at each table) and made friends with another troop.  All these little successes made for the best Girl Scout moment when they realized how strong they can be by supporting one another. The spring in their step and the sparkle in their eyes made it all worthwhile.  They are looking forward to the High Ropes challenge course at Camporee this spring.” As young Scouts approach middle school, it is an unfortunate and common phenomenon that some lose an interest in the organization and also in the subjects of math/science.  How will GS Troop 31193 help to keep these fires burning within its members?

Goldstein: “If the girls are directing what the troop does, then it stays relevant for them.  The girls choose the activities and badge work the troop will do over the course of the year.  I might suggest something in addition, that will be a stretch for them or to explore an area that seems to be lacking but ultimately it’s their decision.  I believe it’s the mix of familiar vs. new, safe vs. a little scary that keeps the program fresh for the girls.  We are about to start a Journey, which is a string of related badges, on the topic of energy.  The Journey explores different types of energy: personal energy, electrical energy and energy conservation.  It is math and science which they use every day and can change their habits to make a difference.” One of the great Girl Scout traditions at this portion of the year is Cookie sales.  How and where will Troop 31193 participate in this drive?  For those that may be unaware, why are Cookie sales so critical to the success of each individual troop?

DSC_0746Goldstein: “The cookie sale is important to our troop because it allows the girls to take financial responsibility for the activities they have planned.  We are able to fund our troop expenses, service projects and a portion of the event fees for the year.  The girls can see the direct effect of the effort they put into the sale.  The Cookie Sale also allows us to give back to Girl Scouts of Northern California, our local council.  The council provides our troop adults with training and support and to its beautiful camps in which we have had some of our most memorable experiences.  The girls have embraced the Gift of Caring campaign in which a customer may donate boxes of cookies to the military or to the local food bank.  Look for us at a local grocery next weekend!” Anything else that you would like to add?

Goldstein: “This group of girls enjoys being together and having fun!  They have diverse interests and personalities yet they make time for Girl Scouts and they support each other.  It’s been a privilege to share their journey and the magic as they discover who they are and what they can accomplish together.”

We cited the Girl Scout mission in the first paragraph of this story. It is clear that these young ladies have embraced this spirit. The troop will continue to accept donations through February 19, 2016. Coats may be dropped off in the bin or brought to the school office. would like to thank Troop Leader Kathy Goldstein and parent Tracy Avelar for their contributions to this profile. Of course, we would also like to acknowledge the members of GS Troop 31193: Audrey Atherton, Adrianna Avelar, Gabriella Avelar, Aitana Ladron de Guevara, Naomi Mangini, Erika Maurice, Sienna Munsell and Kylie Nunemacher. Thank you for making this winter a bit warmer for some of your fellow citizens.

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