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Home East Brunswick Sentinel EB News Area Girl Scout troops merge Service Units

Area Girl Scout troops merge Service Units

Area Girl Scout troops merge Service Units
Cadettes, seniors and ambassadors of Girl Scout Troops 81874, 80812 and 80429 joined forces to benefit soldiers overseas by organized an event at the East Brunswick Civic Center Firehouse to pack 400 shoebox-sized boxes filled with toiletries and snacks. They turned this event into a community effort by inviting Boy Scouts and the East Brunswick Youth Council to assist in packing. The boxes were taken by Operation Shoebox, which will distribute the care packages. The girls coordinated two yard sales and held a flapjack breakfast at Applebee’s to raise more than $3,700 to be used for postage to ship the boxes. Anyone with friends or family members in the military can contact Operation Shoebox NJ and request a box be sent. Visit opshoeboxnj.org.

Joining forces to provide more opportunities for their scouts, the East Brunswick, South River and Milltown Girl Scout Service Units have merged.

“These days everyone has so much pressure on their time that it can be hard to volunteer. The South River and Milltown Girl Scouts had several active troops for the girls but found that they did not have enough volunteers to run the administrative aspect of the service unit needed to maintain a quality program for the girls,” said Laurel Van Leer, Service Unit manager.

Leer said the East Brunswick unit has a strong volunteer service team, and since East Brunswick is located in between South River and Milltown, it made sense to cooperate and merge.

The newly formed service unit is called the East Brunswick, Milltown, South River Service Unit of Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey Council, according to Leer.

“Service Unit managers are the leaders of the leaders. We work with the adults who volunteer to run troops and programs for the girls. We have a service team of about 10 amazing women who help with fund management, training, recruiting, product sales and entrepreneurship, leader coaching and event planning,” Leer said.

Leer said troops and troop numbers will not change. The girls may not even notice, though they will benefit. The merger is for the adults. A service unit, and the service team that runs it, does the administrative tasks like helping to recruit and train new volunteers, supporting troop leaders who have questions, helping troop treasurers with banking, she said.

“Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey, our council, raised the idea [to merge] in the fall of 2017. We have been taking steps since then to bring the two groups together. In practice, the two units merged this spring, but it became official on July 1 for the beginning of the fiscal year,” Leer said.

Leer said the girls will notice there are more events planned and more activities they can participate in. One example is community events where troops from all towns participate, such as the South River Veterans Day Parade, the East Brunswick Veterans Day Ceremony and the Milltown July 4 parade.

Girl Scout troops started in South River officially in 1937, though there was a troop of teen girls in 1925, which started themselves, according to Leer.

“Girl Scouts started in East Brunswick in 1954, but before that area girls probably went to neighboring communities for troops. … Girl Scouts of the USA was founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, and quickly spread nationwide,” Leer said.

In the three towns combined, Leer said there are more than 600 girls in about 60 troops from grades K-12. The service unit expects to grow now that troops will have the volunteers to help start new troops in South River and Milltown. Girls from any of the towns can join these troops if it meets their schedules, she said.

“In the three towns, we have about 100 really active volunteers: troop leaders and others who support the troop program. There are over 400 adults registered, including some men. These adults help chaperone events, some are Lifetime Members, and some just join to support the program,” Leer said.

Leer said this merger is going to strengthen an already great leadership and character development program for girls.

“Girl Scouts has a long and active tradition in this area and the newly merged service unit will make sure that continues and grows. We are looking for community connections in all three towns. You will see Girl Scouts more prominently. We are always open to new volunteers, you do not need to be a Girl Scout ‘mom’ to lead a troop,” Leer said. “We have aunts, grandmothers who lead and some young women who loved Girl Scouts so much that even though they don’t have children of their own yet they want to give the Girl Scout experience to other girls.”

For more information, email at JoinEBMSRGirlScouts@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page.
Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.