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Foundations of friendship

Girl Scouts have fun, help community

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Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 8:09 am, Wed Aug 7, 2013.

When Lissy Smith joined Girl Scouts three years ago, she didn’t say a word during the organization’s annual cookie sales. This year, she was confident in her abilities.

“(She) is socially and emotionally a little low,” said Lissy’s mom, Sabine Smith. “She’s definitely come out of her shell. There’s been an improvement in her social abilities.”

Lissy, 7, is among the 15 second-graders in community service-oriented Girl Scouts Brownie Troop 6113 who meet twice a month at Cedar Valley Elementary School.

The girls in the troop all chimed in, saying they enjoy helping others and making new friends while having fun. They try to participate in at least one community service project a month. This month, they’re helping the Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center during pet adoption day from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at First National Bank in Harker Heights.

Alexa Smith, 8, said she’s glad to be a part of the troop because it lets her help the community and try new things while volunteering.

“I couldn’t just get them,” said Alexa, as she pointed to the 15 badges on her brown Girl Scouts vest. “I had to earn them. It was exciting when I earned my first badge.”

Since the troop’s formation, the girls have volunteered to support the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, helped local food banks, picked up trash at parks and assisted community gardens. They’re also promoting a teddy bear drive in conjunction with the Killeen Police Department where collected items will be distributed to children who may be in crisis situations that officers encounter. Stuffed animals can be dropped off at KPD’s office through March 16.

The troop’s leader, Gina Smith, was a Girl Scout from kindergarten to 12th grade. She said she tries to instill the confidence, leadership and generosity she learned as a Scout to the girls.

“It also shows the girls that this world is not all about them,” she said. “It’s becoming more of a self-centered environment, so if we can show that giving back has benefits and it feels good and you can have fun doing it, then they’re going to be able to open up to a whole bunch of different experiences.”

Lissy joined Girl Scouts after seeing her brother as a Cub Scout.

“I wanted to help the nation,” she said. “I enjoy helping my community. It makes me feel happy.”

Sabine Smith is glad Lissy has a place where she can be herself and interact with like-minded children in a social setting.

“It’s a safe environment and they can learn along the way,” she said.

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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