Story last updated at 6/12/2013 - 2:05 pm
After four years of dreaming, planning and hard work, Juneau Girl Scout Troop 4026 left for 10 days in Kauai. This troop is a member of Girl Scouts of Alaska.
"These girls have been together since kindergarten," said troop leader Melanie Coleman. They are an exceptional group of girls, having all graduated from 8th grade this year with a GPA of 3.5 or better. They also have gained the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment in making their dream come true.
Each year, a portion of the Girl Scout cookie money sales goes to each troop. As a reward for their sales, Coleman and co-leader, Tina Strong, arranged for a sleepover party at the Jubilee cabin at the Shrine of St. Therese. Melanie and Tina lead their troop with the conviction that Girl Scouts should be girl-led, not leader-led. After three years, they asked the girls what they wanted to do with the money they earned. The dream was Hawaii and the goal was set.
Their fund-raising included bake sales, Girl Scout cookie sales, babysitting and event clean-up at the Chapel by the Lake, litter free trash pickup sponsored by John Logan, CPA, helping run the annual overnight field house event, garage sales, SAGA haunted house, and sales of centerpieces for GS banquet. They had a gift wrapping table at the Juneau Public Market. A second booth offered sand candles, hand-painted driftwood critters and flamingos, ski hats, pajama pants and bracelets, all crafted by the girls. The skills the girls learned through these endeavors will stay with them for a lifetime.
Funds were also contributed by the Steve Reese Memorial. His daughter, Janae, is a member of the troop. Juanita Reese, Sara Boesser, Hazel Anlauf, Willie Anderson and Chad Strong donated Alaska airlines mileage points and/or companion tickets.
The troop has rented a villa on the north shore of Kauai above Anini Beach. They will travel the island in two SUVs, enjoying snorkeling, hiking and exploring Waimea Canyon. They will also participate in a luau and a north shore boat ride. They hope to meet up with sister scouts from the island.
On return to Seattle, they are planning a visit to the Space Needle, South Center Shopping Mall and the EMP (Experimental Music Project).
A future goal is a trip to Europe to visit two of the Girl Scout world headquarters, Pax Lodge in London and Our Chalet in Switzerland. They are inspired by Juneau Troop 4009, who completed this trip. That troop bridged from Girl Scouts to Adult, having graduated from High School this year.
"Many girls leave scouting at the middle school age. Having ongoing girl-led goals is definitely an encouragement to stay with the Girl Scout Program," Melanie said.
The girls that earned the trip are: Sierra Coleman, Allyson Strong, Janae Reese, Laurel Stevenson, Ashleigh Rich and Kristen Travers. The chaperones are Melanie Coleman, Tina Strong and Juanita Reese.
The troop wishes to thank their supportive parents, all community members who purchased cookies and other items from them, and those that helped with the airline tickets. A special "thank you" goes to Juanita Reese, who was there for the troop in every way. Leader Melanie Coleman and co-leader Tina Strong also thank their husbands, Michael Coleman and Bill Lee, for their constant encouragement, help and understanding over these four years.
"So many people have supported us in our mission that it is pretty overwhelming! We feel the love! ALOHA!"