Members of the Northern Mariana Island Girls Scouts got their first ever badges last Saturday at the American Memorial Park.
The National Park Service presents the badge, called the Girl Scout Junior Ranger Badge, when girl scouts participate in organized educational activities or volunteer service projects at national parks.
NPS superintendent Barbara Alberti said it is important for the Girl Scouts to learn about their local history and the environment, and for them to begin service learning at a young age so that they understand as citizens that they should give back to the communities.
“It is also a good opportunity for the girls to meet other girls around the island and to see women in positions they may aspire to be. They might choose to become park rangers when they grow up,” Alberti said.
The Girl Scouts spent their past three Saturdays learning about the National Parks Service, which runs the American Memorial Park and other national parks, and did community work. They were oriented at the park, explored historical sites around the island, learned about way-finding (using a compass), and even removed weeds at the amphitheater.
Brooke Nevitt, lead ranger at the American Memorial Park, said that part of the Girl Scout badge is to give back, so the girls did community service right at the park to help weed the planters at the amphitheater.
NMI Girl Scout president Tania P. David highlighted for the young scouts the concept of community service during the badge ceremony.
“We realized the importance of this [activity] especially after Yutu. …What better way to get you to do something that would benefit our community? If you see that no one is taking care of the park or the beach, or the environment, then it’s up to you individually to do your part,” David said, addressing the girl scouts. David also thanked the rangers, volunteers, and parents for dedicating time to take their children to the different activities.
Come November, the girls will get busy with Girl Scout cookies, which is intended to teach them about entrepreneurship and money management, and would also create opportunities for public speaking and enhances confidence. The cookie sales will also help provide funding for the NMI Girl Scouts.