By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN Providing Dassel-Cokato’s youth with opportunities to develop leadership and life skills through a variety of fun activities is what the local Boy and Girl Scout troops strive to do.
Dassel-Cokato Girl Scouts
The mission of Girl Scouts of the USA is to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”
“It’s a good organization, where girls can learn a lot and be exposed to a variety of activities, build friendships, belong to something, and help others, including their communities,” said Becci Babb, community coordinator for the Dassel-Cokato Girl Scouts.
Currently, there are about 50 members, with troops assigned by grade.
They meet at least once a month with their individual troop to work on earning badges for such things as cooking, crafts, sewing, woodworking, and pet care, Babb explained.
There are also a number of combined activities throughout the year, including a summer day camp.
Last summer, the Scouts went horseback riding and learned about taking care of horses.
Beginning at the sixth grade level, Scouts can begin earning bronze, silver and gold awards. A gold award is the equivalent of an Eagle Scout award in Boy Scouts.
Scouts work on a number of community projects, as well.
In 2008, the girls made quilts and donated them to the Cokato Ambulance Service.
The troop is currently in the process of selling Girl Scout cookies, one of the major fundraisers throughout the year.
The profits they earn are spent among the individual troops as they wish. Oftentimes, the troop will go on a camping trip.
Last summer, Babb took her troop on a five-day excursion to the Boundary Waters.
Girls can register with Scouts at anytime for $12. Interested parties can call Babb at (320) 286-0170 for more information.
Boy Scouts Troop 253
Boy Scouts of America is celebrating 100 years with its mission “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout oath and law.”
The Scout’s oath is: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The Scout’s law states that “a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
In February, Dassel-Cokato Boy Scouts Troop 253 welcomed new Scoutmaster Keith Dahlseng, with Tim Steuck stepping down after 10 years.
Dahlseng and his wife, Paulette moved to Dassel from Indiana two years ago, along with their three sons, Eric, 14; Matthew, 12; and Nathan, 9.
Currently, there are 20 Scouts since six are crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, according to Dahlseng.
Dahlseng encourages boys to join Scouts because they get the opportunity to develop outdoor skills and “enjoy some camaraderie with other boys,” he said.
In February, three Scouts took advantage of an opportunity to earn merit badges at Merit Badge Madness, hosted by the Annandale Boy Scout troop.
There, Jordan Haapala and Matthew Dahlseng earned their Citizenship in the World merit badge. The badge is one required for ear ning Eagle rank, Dahlseng explained.
José Reiger earned two badges that day including a merit in photography, and a pulp and paper merit badge.
Troop 253 is gearing up for its spring camporee at a local campground. Scouts are currently planning the event.
This is part of the leadership aspect of Scouts, as the Scouts take the initiative by planning the Scouting events. The adult troop leaders the assist by facilitating and guiding the troop, Dahlseng explained.
There is also a summer camp, which will take place at Camp Wilderness in Park Rapids, MN.
Every May, the troop participates in roadside cleanup with Adopt-a-Highway at the intersection of Highway 12/15.
Troop 253 meets twice a month to work on merit badges and plan for upcoming events. Meetings are the second and fourth Monday of the month at St. John’s Education Center, located between Dassel and Cokato along Highway 12.
Boys ages 11, or grade five, can join.
If interested in joining or for more information, contact Dahlseng at (320) 275-9912.