Kirk Hall on Lake Road was full of Girl Scouts, parents and Scout leaders Saturday. There were over 30 cars in the parking lot and at least a dozen more in the surrounding parking areas. Inside over 100 parents and Scouts were bustling around. Scouts were being awarded badges and showing off displays that educated attendees on everything from space science to robotics to cybersecurity.

The 7th Annual Killeen Sister Cities Open House had a little bit of something for everyone.

“Twelve to 15 troops meet here,” said Melissa Dietzman, a spokesperson and organizer of the event. She said the purpose of the event was outreach for the Girl Scouts. “To generate attendance at our event so we can provide scouting opportunities to as many girls as possible.”

Killeen resident Kyle Moore was glowing as he left the event with his daughter, Kailee. He said she had a blast, but was a little shy. Kaillee earned a badge and learned about camping, Moore said.

Kailee smiled and said, “Yeah!”

Her father added that Kailee got involved by meeting a fellow Scout in school here in Killeen.

“She just joined the troop with one of her friends in first grade,” he said.

“We’re teaching them to use their voices and be strong leaders,” Dietzman said.

The Killeen Sister Cities Girl Scouts serves a surprisingly large section of the Lone Star State, from San Angelo to San Marcos to Waco to College Station.

“That’s the cool thing,” Dietzman said. “We’re visible in the community… We’re always looking to add new girls.”

The Scouts are open to girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. One booth hosted “Paint with Killeen Rocks” and offered a badge for participation. There were booths featuring cupcake decorating, outdoor games, information on council programs and various badges.

Program Specialist Melissa Green pointed out the new College Knowledge Badge, a program that prepares older Scouts to get ready for higher education. “That’s my baby,” Green said. “We’re excited about it.” Green was a college professor at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. The badge is one of honor for the Central Texas troop because it has been recognized by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and the curriculum has been adopted nationwide.

The emphasis on the event can be summarized by its adoption of G.I.R.L. as a description of what the Scouts strive for: G. Go-getter I. Innovator R. Risk-taker, and L. Leader.

Learn more about the Central Texas Girl Scouts at www.gsctx.org or by calling 800-733-0011.

The Scouts will be in the Killeen Christmas Parade on Dec. 8.

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