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Kentucky Arts and Culture

Girl Scouts react to campaign launch for 6 million-dollar leadership campus in NKY

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Cheri Lawson
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Brownies and Daisies of Troop 2160 enjoy a scavenger hunt at Highland Cemetery nature trail.

In late October, Susan Douglas, CEO of Lexington-based, Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road, announced the launch of a campaign to help build a state-of-the-art facility for Girl Scouts on 11-acres in Erlanger. Douglas said the urban oasis will be built in three phases and provide countless opportunities for Girl Scouts.

“So when we look at life skills, STEM education, career exploration, entrepreneurship, and outdoor adventure, this will have it all,” said Douglas.

Sixteen five to eight-year-old girls, eight Brownies, and eight Daisies gather in a circle at the entrance of the Highland Cemetery nature trail in Ft. Mitchell. Leader of troop 2160, Emily Johnson, gets the giggling girls to form a circle and open their meeting by saying the Girl Scout Promise.

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Cheri Lawson
Troop leaders, Emily Johnson and Kristina Stanley lead Brownies and Daisies of Troop 2160 in the Girl Scout promise.

Johnson, her co-leader, Kristina Stanley, and a couple of volunteer moms lead the girls up a leafy steep trail through the woods on a scavenger hunt. The 34-year-old has two daughters in the troop and said one of the benefits of scouting is friendship.

”But in addition to that it’s just fun. You learn about being a good citizen, you learn about the world around you. Of course, I’m an entrepreneur, so I love the sales aspect around cookie season,” said Johnson.

She and co-leader Stanley enjoy the fact that their troop will get to take full advantage of the new facility, especially STEM activities.

“In fact, next week, we’re working on catapults, and how far can we shoot something across the way,” said Johnson.

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Cheri Lawson
Troop 2160 stops for a picture during the scavenger hunt.

“I think it’s really going to be a great environment for the girls. Great resources as they grow up through the Girl Scout program,” added Stanley.

“Challenge a Girl to Change the World” is the theme of this campaign designed to help build the 6-million-dollar state of the art facility. That theme resonates with Erlanger’s first female mayor, Jessica Fette. She said she’s been fortunate that many people in her life have challenged her to change the world.

“That’s why I’m so excited about the Northern Kentucky leadership campus. Girl Scouts have encouraged girls to engage in their communities. Ninety-percent of Girl Scout alums are registered voters. Fifty-two-percent of female business leaders are Girl Scout alums. Seventy percent of female members of the United States Congress were Girl Scouts,” reported Fette.

Plans for this flagship facility in Erlanger include everything from a lakeside dock, boathouse, and amphitheater to multi-purpose quarters for programming, training, and enhanced technology for STEM activities.

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Cheri Lawson
Troop 2160 continues up the trail to the clearing for another activity.

Troop Leader Mandy Jamison has been in Girl Scouts since she was a kid. Now she leads 9 high schoolers. She’s thrilled about the idea of the new Girl Scout opportunity.

“Even my girls as high schoolers are excited for this because they’re going to build cabins here. There’s going to be archery here. I encourage every girl in Kentucky to be involved in Girl Scouting. It provides so many opportunities that sometimes girls just don’t get anywhere else,” explained Jamison.

In just two hours at a recent meeting Jamison’s troop reviewed a lesson on government, worked on an art project and each girl shared a sales pitch for their favorite Girl Scout cookie.

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Cheri Lawson
Girl Scout Leader Mandy Jamison assists Girl Scouts Clara and Jess.

Sixteen-year-old Arianna Hall has been in Girls Scouts for almost 6 years. She enjoys selling cookies and said Girl Scouting has been good for her.

“Girl Scouts has helped me come out of my shell and help me build some self-confidence I didn’t have before. I tend to be an anxious, reserved person and I feel like the longer I’m in here, the more comfortable I am with self-advocating and speaking out,” said Hall.

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Cheri Lawson
Girl Scouts of Troop 1801 say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road expects to break ground on Phase One of the leadership campus in the summer of 2023. Meanwhile, the organization will continue to serve more than 10 thousand girls around the Commonwealth.

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