SOUTH PORTLAND — Girls in kindergarten through third grade are invited to learn about Girl Scouts of Maine during an interactive registration event on Jan. 15 at Frank I. Brown Elementary School.

Beginning at 6 p.m., families can find out more about the world of Girl Scouts, said Laura Genese, marketing and communications director for the Girl Scout’s South Portland Center.

Students can make a secret code bracelet and complete other secret agent activities, she said. Parents can also get involved by becoming troop leaders, too. There are six scouts to one leader, and a parent doesn’t need to have been a member.

Becoming a Girl Scout can help girls gain confidence skills, said Genese.

“It’s designed by and for girls,” she said. “We have amazing resources from Girl Scouts of the United States. There’s hundreds of badges that girls can earn. The troops can work on what they want. Like, if they want to focus on outdoor activities. We have hundreds of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) badges as well. With so few women in STEM, we’re trying to get girls confident in STEM at a young age. It’s really a leadership development program.”

Girl Scouts of Maine recently released 43 new STEM badges, added Genese.

“We essentially have four pillars: outdoors, life skills, STEM and entrepreneurship,” she said.

According to their website, Girl Scouts of Maine, “builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

Girls can start from kindergarten, as Daisies, and move up to Brownies in second grade, Juniors in fourth grade, Cadettes in sixth grade, seniors in ninth grade and ambassadors in eleventh grade, said Genese. A girl doesn’t have to start in Daisies, however.

“You can join Girl Scouts at any time,” she said. “My daughter’s troop is in fifth grade and they recruited some girls after a few of the members left. So they started in fifth grade.”

As a troop leader, Genese said that she has noticed her daughter and fellow troop members become more confident over time.

“It’s a really safe and inclusive environment,” she said. “They try new things and take risks knowing they have their support group.”

There are different camping and travel opportunities during the summer months, she said, and as the girls get older, they will have new leadership experiences.

Girls do not have to wait for Jan. 15 to sign up, Genese said. They can visit www.girlscoutsofmaine.org with their parents or call 888-922-4763 to find out more.

“Our events center around discovering the importance of the inclusive, all-girl environment of a Girl Scout troop where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles and just be themselves,” she said in an email. “Each event includes a fun activity with girls earning a patch, more information about our programs, and Q&A with caregivers.

“We host info nights and registration events all year long, and although we welcome all ages to come learn more about Girl Scouts, current event activities are designed for girls in grades K-3 and their caregiver(s),” she continued. “Starting in the spring, events are also geared toward girls in Pre-K, as girls going into Kindergarten in the fall have the opportunity to join Girl Scouts starting April 1st. This provides a wonderful opportunity for girls to make friends and gain confidence before starting Kindergarten.”

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