By Jennifer Kotila
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Whether it be Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts, scouting programs provide structured learning environments for youth that build character and teach lifelong skills.
The Dassel-Cokato area has several scouting organizations, including the Dassel Cub Scout Pack 253, the Cokato Cub Scout Pack 249, Dassel-Cokato Boy Scout Troop 253, and the Dassel-Cokato Girl Scouts.
Youth can join each of the scouting organizations when they are in kindergarten or anytime thereafter.
This year, the Girls Scouts of America celebrated 100 years since the first troop was organized by Juliette Gordon Low March 12, 1912.
It declared 2012 as the Year of the Girl, a celebration of girls, recognizing their leadership potential.
The Girl Scouts made a commitment to create a coalition of like-minded organizations and individuals in support of balanced leadership in the workplace and in communities across the country.
Girls Scouts start as daisies in kindergarten and first grade, earning learning petals for various things such as respect and authority, and receiving participation patches while going on trips, learning about nature and science, and exploring the arts and their communities.
In second and third grade, Girl Scouts Brownies work together to earn Brownie awards and explore their community.
When a Girl Scout enters fourth grade, they become Girl Scout Juniors, earning badges, discovering what girl power is all about through new activities, and learning to take charge of their own plans.
Older Girl Scouts become cadettes, seniors, and ambassadors, participating in Girl Scouting in many ways.
Under the guidance of a trained adult advisor, cadettes, seniors, and ambassadors mix and match activities and resources to suit their needs, while giving back to their communities.
Throughout the years, girls have the opportunity to earn their bronze, silver, and gold awards at the respected levels by completing a service project in their community.
This year, there are a few girls from the DC area who will be working towards their gold award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a girl scout.
Although there are different levels of Girl Scouts, girls can join at any time, according to troop leader Diana Gabrelcik.
A leader is typically the mother of one of the girls in a troop, and stays with that group of girls as they progress through the different level, Gabrilcek noted.
She has been leading her troop, which is now entering fifth grade, since kindergarten.
Leaders plan events and activities throughout the year based on what the troop members are interested in, Gabrilcek said.
Last year, the troop took an overnight trip to the Minnesota Zoo, where they were given a behind-the-scenes tour, in order to earn their zoo badge.
The troop also planned a party, where they invited members of other local troops to join them.
This year, it is a goal of the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lake and Pines to build up the number of girls participating in Girl Scouts in the DC area.
Registration night for DC Girl Scouts will take place Sept. 24 or 25, and will be posted in the Enterprise Dispatch.
There are two cub scout packs in the DC area, the Dassel Cub Scout Pack 253, and the Cokato Cub Scout Pack 249.
The Dassel Cub Scout Pack is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, and meets at Gethsemene Lutheran Church in Dassel at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of most months.
The pack will be recruiting and registering new members Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Gethsemene Lutheran Church.
For more information, contact Bill Bull at (763) 231-7228 or (952) 472-3088.
The Cokato Cub Scout Pack 249 is sponsored by the Cokato American Legion Post 209, and meets at Cokato City Hall the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
The pack will be recruiting and registering new members tonight (Sept. 10) at 6:30 p.m. at Cokato City Hall.
For more information, contact Bull (numbers above), or Lori DeRosier at (320) 286-2226.
The Cub Scouts program is a year-round family program designed for boys in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Each Cub Scout pack is separated into smaller groups of boys called dens, which include boys that are the same age.
Throughout the year, Cub Scouts participate in different activities, such as visiting local police stations, fire departments, newspaper offices, and other places.
Cub Scouts also build Pinewood Derby cars and race them on a track.
Cub Scouts complete accomplishments and learn new skills, and are rewarded with beads or patches.
When a Cub Scout reaches sixth grade, or the age of 11, he is eligible to enter the Boy Scouts of America.
Once boys in the DC area reach Boy Scout age, they become part of Boy Scout Troop 253. However, it is not necessary to have participated in Cub Scouts to join Boy Scouts.
Troop 253 is sponsored by St. John’s Catholic Church, and meets at 7 p.m. the second Monday, and 6 p.m. the fourth Sunday of each month at St. John’s Education Center.
Boys can participate in the scout program until they are 18 years of age, and there are currently about 27 members in Troop 253.
The Boy Scouts try to camp at least once per month, and 23 participated in a summer camp this year, according to Scoutmaster Keith Dahlseng.
The group earned 135 merit badges this year, as well.
The highest honor a Boy Scout can earn is to become an Eagle Scout by completing a community service project.
This year, one Boy Scout will be working on his Eagle Scout, and three others will be preparing for their projects.
For more information, contact Dahlseng at (320) 275-9912.