Published: Sep 14, 2008 07:56 AM
Modified: Sep 14, 2008 07:56 AM
I was invited to Harlan Strongoli's house one sticky, summery evening in late July to view some slides of her daughter's recent trip to Greece with her Girl Scout troop.
I was interested in hearing about the latest adventure of this well-established troop. My own daughter experienced Europe for the first time with the same Troop 243 in 1999 and had an amazing experience, so I knew it must have been just as magical for this group of girls.
Six young ladies from Troop 243 planned and worked to save money for three years to make this trip a reality. They were: Joanna Barnett, a junior at East Chapel Hill High School; Caroline Williams, a junior at Chapel Hill High School; and Julie Crimmins, Rachel Greene, Jennifer Kueffer and K.C. Strongoli, all seniors at CHHS.
To raise money for the trip, the girls sold cookies, made meals for events at the United Church of Christ, held a garage sale, hired themselves out to do odd jobs and yard work and some held after-school jobs.
I asked the girls if the trip was really worth the time and effort they obviously put into this project. All six answered in unison, "Oh, yes!"
"The trip you plan yourself is much more worth it because you can do what you want to do when you want to do it," Kueffer said.
This is Girl Scouting.
The girls worked with W.J. McCoy, a classics professor at UNC, who frequently takes his students on study trips to Greece. Dr. McCoy suggested a tour guide and mentioned several areas in Greece that would be worth visiting.
The girls also did research on their own and chose where they wanted to go.
Although they spent time in Athens and in beautiful Santorini, their favorite experience on the whole trip was five days in a small village called Zaros on the island of Crete, one of Dr. McCoy's suggestions. There, the girls were invited to help prepare food in the kitchen of the taverna where they stayed (where no one spoke English) and observed the celebrations surrounding a local wedding (which involved lots of celebratory machine gun shooting).
On one of their last nights in Athens, the troop was fortunate to have dinner with Lila Michailidou, commissioner of Greek Guides; Georgia Bekyra, and Angle Terzaki, district commissioners; and Maria Lahano, a Greek Guide leader. The dinner was an appropriate ending to a wonderful trip.
None of this would have happened without adult leadership. Troop 243 is led by Paige Barnett, Nancy Green, and Nancy Kueffer. Linda Roberts and Kim Williams also accompanied the girls.
Although exotic, this trip was not unique for Orange County Girl Scouts. Orange County Scouts have traveled to places including Switzerland, Hawaii, New York City and Savannah, Ga. They have done white water rafting, hiking and spelunking in the North Carolina mountains. They had skied and snowboarded in Michigan and done primitive camping at Cape Lookout.
To join the Girl Scouts, contact Gail Hicks-Smith, Orange County Girl Scout membership director, at (919) 401-4772 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara L. Putney is media coordinator for Orange County Girl Scouts.