Girls Scouts River Valleys Girl Scouts are stepping up to the challenge of making a difference in their communities, and are really putting their all towards this year’s program theme: It’s Your World—Change It!
This past fall, Junior Girl Scout Troop 16566 had been brainstorming ideas on what to do for their Bronze Award.
Coincidentally, nine of the 11 fifth-grade girls are on safety patrol for the school they all attend in Minneapolis. Girls used this experience as a launching pad for ideas on how to make a lasting impact on their community: To improve the safety around their school for walkers, bikers, and drivers.
Troop Leader Leah Drury spoke with Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson, who represents the city’s 12th ward—the same area where the girls live. Leah and Council Member Johnson spoke at a neighborhood block party about a potential troop visit to City Hall for a chance for girls to earn their Inside Government badge.
“I personally am fairly civically involved. I serve as an election judge, and want to instill civic duty in our Girl Scouts,” Drury said, “Especially about how local level governance can have more of an effect on their day-to-day lives versus what they may hear from national news stories.”
Johnson welcomed the idea of the girls making a City Hall visit. He and his staff worked with the troop to arrange a visit on November 29, 2017—the day of the city council budget meeting, where the floor was open to the public, should the girls wish to address the city council.
The girls were very motivated at that point to firm up what they were going to speak to the city council about, and thought of ways to tie it all into their Bronze Award project.
The troop was told in advance that only one Girl Scout would have time to speak, so the troop voted for Drury’s daughter, ten-year-old Hadley, to speak.
Donning matching pink sweatshirts and Girl Scout Junior vests, Hadley’s troop sat behind her as she delivered their planned speech about increasing traffic safety outside their elementary school. The troop believes this can be accomplished by increasing the number of stop signs at a four-way intersection outside their school, the same intersection where they routinely patrol.
“I do safety patrol at both of those corners on different days, and I can tell you that cars go way too fast and careless through these intersections,” Hadley said.
She also proposed turning one of the adjoining streets into a one way to allow more room for school buses, and children getting on and off the bus.
After delivering their speech, and listening in on the session, the girls were treated to a tour of City Hall and a pizza reception hosted by Council Member Johnson and including appearances from notable women leaders across Minneapolis city governance such as Deputy Director of Public Works Lisa Cerney, Director of Human Resources Patience Ferguson, Public Works Director Robin Hutcheson, Operations Director of Regulatory Services Kim Keller, Director of Civil Rights Velma Korbel, Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant, and Deputy City Coordinator Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde.
The troop is currently in touch with city council staff about how to advance their goal of increasing the number of stop signs and upping traffic safety at their school, and perhaps spreading the words far enough to impact other Minneapolis schools.
Check out the video of the troop’s presentation at City Hall!