Story 1: Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma’s Community Development program is adroit at ensuring each girl forms positive identities and learns how to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Onikah started her Girl Scout experience this past year as a Daisy (K-1st) at Cherokee Elementary. As a Daisy, Onikah was quiet and hesitant to forge relationships with not only her troop leader, Barbara Hentz, but also her peers—two years ago, Onikah’s life was forever changed when her mother died while giving birth to her younger brother, making relationship building a complex process for Onikah. Onikah had a difficult time transitioning into Girl Scouts, and Onikah’s grandmother even communicated to Barbara that Girl Scouts might not be the right program for her granddaughter. Because of Barbara’s expertise and capacity to nurture relationships, Onikah has become one of her troop’s most outgoing participants. Barbara has reported Onikah is excelling in academics, and she is going more confident with each passing day—she even begs her grandmother to stop whenever she sees Barbara or one of her Girl Scout peers in public!
Story 2: Autumn attends New Tech at Cherokee Troop 4092. She came to my school day troop during our six week sessions. After returning to our evening troops, she started attending as well. At first she was really shy, but has since came out of her shell. After talking with another parent, I found out that her mother had passed away and she is currently residing with her father. She has now found a sense of belonging within GS. She has bonded with the other girls and they have a unique sisterhood. She recently participated in the Black history dance drama to earn her Dance badge for her vest. She will be participating in our cookie booth sales this upcoming week during spring break. I’m excited to see her blossom and flourish throughout the rest of her GS career.
Story 3: Teirra, a senior at Muskogee High School, participated in our post-secondary readiness program College Connect. Utilizing the skills that she learned in the program, she was able to secure scholarship funding to attend Langston University in the Fall. Additionally, she was one of 13 recipients to be awarded the prestigious Juliette Low Leadership Society Scholarship.
Story 4: In order for girls to build the self-confidence necessary for leadership, GSEOK understands they must first feel safe, supported and secure. We provide girls with emotionally and physically safe environments so they can freely explore new activities or ideas without fear of bullying, peer pressure, negative influences and the expectations of the opposite sex. One program exemplifies the power of Girl Scouts and its ability to offer every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success: Community Development.
This past year, Aaliyah, a Girl Scouts Beyond Bars and Community Development participant, faced and overcame continued hardship. As Aaliyah’s mother was released from prison, the family learned mom would be tried for another in a state outside of Oklahoma. Because Aaliyah was affiliated with Community Development, GSEOK staff was able to forge a deep connection with and provide stability and support to Aaliyah’s family during this difficult time. Once Aaliyah’s mother was released from the state, she was able to move in with her mother and daughter.