Scouting abroad

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Girl Scout troop 2146 heading to Europe in 2010

By Scotty McDaniel

For most kids there are few things more exciting than tearing open presents and seeing what surprises they receive.

But the junior girl scouts of Troop 2146 know exactly what they want next year: Eiffel Towers and authentic Swiss chocolate.

These six girls, along with their mothers, have been invited through the Kentuckiana Girl Scout Council to spend 10 days next summer sightseeing in London, Paris, and Switzerland. A 2-day extension to Rome is also a possibility.

During the trip they would visit two Girl Scout World Centers – in Our Chalet, Switzerland and Pax Lodge, UK.

“It’s really going to give the girls a unique opportunity to visit another country and learn the big picture that there’s life outside what they’re used to,” troop leader Heidi Gregg said.

The girls will be fifth- and sixth-graders when it’s time to go. To say they are excited about the opportunity would be an understatement. Where are they most eager to go?

“Paris,” Kelsey Billingsley said without batting an eye. “I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel tower. I really want to see it at night.”

“Every girl’s dream,” Mattie Roach said, interrupting, followed by a heavy sigh. “I want to look at it from a distance though. I don’t like heights.”

The kids are also looking forward to taking a food class to learn how to make the French treat Tarte flambee, but more than that they’re just excited to try different foreign cuisine.

“I want to see how different the food is,” Kelsey Hargadon said.

Caroline Shy is looking forward to a specific treat.

“I’m excited to go to Switzerland because we get to eat chocolate,” she said.

Though the trip is a year away, one would think the plane leaves tomorrow.

“We have one girl who is already planning her wardrobe,” Heidi said.

Sonia Roach said her daughter Mattie has become more willing to do work around the house.

“Mattie has picked up chores to save spending money for the trip,” she said.

Fund-raising efforts

But the reality is there is significant money to be raised. It will cost roughly $3,000 per scout for transportation, meals, and hotels.

So the scouts are scheduling fundraisers around town to help cover the costs.

The next effort will be at Hometown Pizza on June 17. From 6 to 9 p.m. a certain percentage of revenue will go to the scout’s fund.

Other raffles and fundraising efforts are in the works. Donations made to the troop are tax deductible.

“It’s 100 percent tax deductible if given through the council [Kentuckiana Girl Scout Council],” Gregg said. “So that’s what we prefer.”

The money for the trip must be raised by April 2010.

“We’d like to raise as much as we can, so we don’t create a hardship for any of our families, and it gives the girls a little bit more ownership in the trip if they help raise the money for it,” she said.

Want to donate? Make checks out to the Kentuckiana Girl Scout Council, but mail them to Heidi Gregg for documentation at 7025 Frankfort Road, Shelbyville, Ky. 40065. Call Gregg at 829-0488 for more information.