By Sue Moore
Vicksburg’s Girl Scout Troop just returned from a nine-day trip to Ireland. The scouts saved and planned for five years and worked hard to make this trip happen, said Windee Wagner, the troop’s co-leader with Penny Gettle, who was unable to go along. Five scouts and four moms went. The girls will be seniors this fall at Vicksburg High School.
They were amazed at how young our country is when they visited pre-historic sites, Wagner commented. They did the typical tourist things but saw how much history there is in the bigger world they traveled in. Their research included the money exchange and conversion fees. It was the first airplane flight for most of them and going through customs was a new experience as well.
They are all working to achieve their Gold Award, the equivalent of an Eagle Scout award for boys. The girls have until they turn 18 to finish a special project that is tied to the award. Their fundraising experience is a big part of the learning curve for the troop members. “We tried whatever we thought could earn money. Some were successful and some were not,” Wagner said.
Most of the girls earned enough money to pay for half of the trip costs through the fundraising experience. The rest they had to contribute from their own finances. They are all heavily involved in extra-curricular activities in school as well, Wagner pointed out. One girl plays soccer, three are in choir and three are in band. Two of the troop members were unable to go on the trip.
They researched the country they wanted to visit, narrowing down the choices to France or Ireland with the parents getting one vote apiece. Ireland won on a split vote. As it turned out, Ireland was having a heat wave and it was very dry in the cities and countryside. “It turned out that the girls didn’t use their phones as much as when they are home, using them mostly to take pictures,” Wagner said.