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Local troop to visit birthplace of Girl Scouts

Troop fund-raised for two years for trip.

Come late Tuesday night, nine girls will be on their way to a part of the country they’ve never before visited.

Girl Scout Troop 34 of Bremerton is flying across the country to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouting in Savannah, Ga. Nine 10-12-year-old girls and three chaperones will visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and First Headquarters July 1-8. Low founded Girl Scouts in 1912 and now 96 years later, nearly 4 million girls belong to Girl Scouts of the USA.

Troop leader Ann Kim began planning the trip two years ago and not many local Girl Scout troops have made the cross-country trek.

“The last troop that went to Savannah was four years ago,” Kim said.

For the past two years, Troop 34 sold Girl Scout cookies, calendars, and poinsettias and wreaths during the holidays to raise money for the trip.

“Fund-raising went well,” Kim said. “We sold over 5,000 boxes of cookies this year.”

Kim said the trip to Savannah costs about $1,000 per person and 90-95 percent of that is covered by the past two years’ fund-raising efforts, which were led by the girls themselves.

“We told the girls this is not a trip for mommy and daddy to write a check,” Kim said. “I don’t think any of us would have been able to afford it (without the fund-raisers).”

All of the girls said the years of fund-raising were well worth it and they are counting down the days until their airplane takes off from Sea-Tac International Airport.

Aside from visiting the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and First Headquarters, Troop 34 also will check out the sights of Savannah.

“Savannah’s a historic Civil War town, so we’re going to see a lot of that,” Kim said.

The troop also will take classes at the birthplace of Girl Scouting. Years ago, Low herself taught a class on how to tie up a robber using only 8 inches of rope. Troop 34 will take that same class while in Savannah.

“Of course we’re going to earn a lot of badges while we’re there,” Kim said.

Many of the girls are most looking forward to their six-hour layover in Jacksonville, Fla. next week. A Jacksonville Girl Scout troop is treating Troop 34 to lunch and taking them to the beach to visit the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

“That’s a really cool layover,” Kim said with a smile.

In preparation for the trip, Kim taught her troop about East Coast weather, the do’s and don’ts of hotel rooms, how to snap great photos and more. The girls earned many badges along the way.

“We did it as a means of preparing for the trip,” Kim said. “Everything has kind of been Savannah-focused for the past two years.”

Troop 34 will be out and about today preparing for their departure. The girls will pack their suitcases, hop on Kitsap Transit and walk around Kitsap Mall, with luggage in tow, in preparation for Tuesday’s trip to the airport.

When asked if they had anything to say to the people who supported their fund-raising efforts, the girls of Troop 34 only had one thing to say.

“Thank you,” the girls said in unison.

Kim said the two years of fund-raising showed the girls that if they “put their minds to it, they can do anything.”

“I just want all those people who supported us to know that we did it. We’re going to Savannah,” Kim said.

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