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5 Towson Scouts make impression on youth depression

Local Girl Scouts, from left, Jenna Paraska, Faith Rowland, Cate Hutson, Marlaney Guevara, Isabel Aldana, Leah Corona.
Local Girl Scouts, from left, Jenna Paraska, Faith Rowland, Cate Hutson, Marlaney Guevara, Isabel Aldana, Leah Corona. (Ann Hutson)

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character. Connecting to nature (something Scouts do routinely) has proved to be a valuable tool for fighting depression.

Five local Towson teens put their Scouting skills to work to craft a special service unit project, “Be an Outsider,” to help combat youth depression, and recently earned the Silver Award for their efforts. Cadette Scouts Isabel Aldana, Leah Corona, Marlaney Guevara, Jenna Paraska and Faith Rowland, from Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Troop #252, designed and conducted a weekend program for approximately 100 girls in kindergarten through fifth grade, teaching them practical skills needed to venture safely outdoors to camp and enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of nature.

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The Cadettes conducted research, consulted with other troop leaders and developed workshops. They instructed their participants on how to build fires, establish campsites, tie knots, cook outdoors, and use first-aid techniques. Plus, they explored the healthful practice of meditation.

The Silver Award is the Girl Scouts’ second-highest award and the highest award that a Cadette Scout can earn. To earn the Silver Award, girls must complete a Cadette Journey award, invest a minimum of 50 hours in identifying a community need, design an action plan to address the need and conduct the project including sharing what they did.

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Aldana, Corona, Guevara, Paraska, and Rowland completed their teaching in April and their reporting in September, and the presentation ceremony for the award is pending. Troop leader Ann Hutson is tremendously proud of these young ladies.

Hutson’s daughter, Cate Hutson, is working toward a Gold Award — the highest honor in Girl Scouts. At least four Scouts from Service Unit #681 are currently going for gold. Service Unit #681 serves girls in the Stoneleigh, Rogers Forge and West Towson school districts for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors. They also have older Cadette troops at Dumbarton, and Senior and Ambassador troops at Towson High, totaling about 25 troops at various levels.

Phoebe Evans Letocha leads Towson’s Troop #15. Her crew of Scouts has been together since the girls were in kindergarten at Stoneleigh, and now they are high school seniors.

“We plan to end our time as a troop with a weeklong trip to Vermont in June, right after graduation,” Letocha said. “Three years ago, we traveled to Savannah to the birthplace of Girl Scouts and its founder Juliette Gordon Low, where the girls received their Silver awards. Three out of the six girls in my troop are now working on Gold Award projects.”

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Towson-area Girl Scouts also participate in service through holiday adopt-a-family gift giving, meal prep/service at Towson Presbyterian Church, stream cleanup with Green Towson Alliance, and more.

Plans already are underway for the Service Unit’s “Thinking Day” celebration of international friendship, in which each troop will select a country to present food, craft, song or skit. The World’s Fair-type event will take place on March 7 at Towson Presbyterian.

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