Girl Scouts take philanthropic action in their communities


Nishtha Sharma, Staff Writer

As orders from friends and family for Samoas and Thin Mints pile in, Joanne Wang (12) takes time out of her schedule to organize, sell, and pack cookies.

Wang has been dedicated to her town’s Girl Scout troop in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for the past 11 years. She initially joined because she was captivated by the amount of firsthand charity and community work she could do through the troop, she said.

Girl Scouts is a non-profit organization that serves to create a network of girls who can teach each other charitable tasks and give back to their communities, according to the official Girl Scouts website.

“I saw a lot of my friends doing it and heard some amazing stories from them about it. Since we all went to the same school at the time, I decided to join,” Wang said.

She learned that the troop raised money for a cancer patient, which appealed to her because it allowed her to feel a more personal connection with community, she said.

Allison Li (12) joined her troop as a way of giving back to the community while also being able to hang out with friends after school, she said. “I really liked the camaraderie and team dynamic that the troop offered.”

Girl Scouts is a means of “collaborating with a tight-knit group of girls, whom I don’t get to see very often,” Naomi Kenyatta (10) said. She has been a part of her troop for four years. “It allows me to feel like I did something good for the community.”

Most recently, Kenyatta’s troop worked with a shelter for LGBTQ+ minors who were kicked out of their homes by their parents, and also a group that offered support to single mothers in the nation.

In addition to local service work, Girl Scout troops raise money to go on annual trips. In 2012, Li’s troop visited Savannah, Georgia, the birthplace of Girl Scouts, to commemorate its 100th anniversary. There, Li learned about the organization’s history, she said.

Last year, Kenyatta visited Costa Rica with her troop, where she did multiple service trips, including one where she helped build a garden. The experience made her proud to be a Girl Scout, she said.

As any other sports or club commitment, Girl Scouts can be a time-consuming activity, Kenyatta said. However, she and her troop plan meetings on Sundays, in which they complete most of their tasks to allow for a more feasible time commitment for everyone, she said.

“Just like any club at this school, it’s whatever you make of it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big time commitment,” Wang said. The busiest part of Wang’s Girl Scout career is the Girl Scout Cookies sale, which occurs every year, usually from the end of February to the end of March, she said.

Wang, Li, and Kenyatta all find Girl Scouts to be an opportunity for meeting other girls, they said. “I feel a great sisterly bond in our meetings,” Li said. “It’s really nice to have a group of girls from my town whom I can still see, even though we all go to different schools,” Wang said.