Kids' corner These three essays were written for a Girl Scouts of Chicago breakfast this summer. Each girl was assigned to talk about one part of the Girl Scouts' mission-courage, confidence and character. They wrote about what the words meant to them and delivered the speech before a crowd of more than 400 adult Girl Scouts supporters, a feat of bravery in itself.
Brave enough to try new things This is my first year as a Girl Scout. I have gained courage by being in Girl Scouts because I have the bravery to go to another state for camping and because I have the bravery to sell Girl Scouts cookies.
When we go door to door selling cookies, some people are very crabby and mean, so we have to have courage for when they tell us to go away, and they don't want any cookies. We need courage because we have to confront people and ask them to contribute to Girl Scouts.
One reason why we should have courage while we are camping is because there will be times when we have to travel and when we stay at other places. If you want to be out of the home, you have to have courage.
Also, we have to have courage because there are some things that we will see when we are camping that we've never seen before that will gross us out. And there will be some scary noises and we will have to show that we are brave by not screaming.
A girl of courage can travel with other people she's never met. A girl of courage can communicate with others she's never met. A girl of courage can respect others she's never met.
I am a girl of courage. I am a Girl Scout.
Brande Mitchell, 14, Chicago
Finding the future through Scouts Hi. I am a sixth-grader at Rosario Castellanos School. I reside in the South Lawndale area. Little Village is like any other neighborhood. Sometimes it's peaceful, but unfortunately it's not always that way. Overall, it is a happy place to live.
This year through the MetLife College Pathways program I had the opportunity to be part of Girl Scouts. I have never had a chance to be in Girl Scouts before, and this has been a great experience. What I like most about being a Girl Scout is that I get to meet new people and I am setting goals for my future.
The College Pathways program has helped me develop more confidence by showing me many types of colleges. My mentor helped me in many different ways, like looking at what college has what I need, how to start applying for a college and when to apply to one. I feel confident thanks to my mentor, who showed me how to set personal goals beyond high school and helped me create a plan to stay in school and attend college to have a better future.
Girl Scouts and my parents have helped me feel more confident. Now I know: A girl of confidence knows who she is and what she's all about. A girl of confidence knows she has other people she can count on. A girl of confidence looks eagerly into the future.
I am a girl of confidence. I am a Girl Scout.
Kimberly Ramirez, 12, Chicago
Building character in girls No puzzle can be complete without the last piece. The last piece of my puzzle is character.
Girl Scouts works hard to build girls with character and personality. Many different traits go into a Girl Scout's character: We are committed, dedicated, focused, determined and never give up. Every area of Girl Scouts helps to develop these traits, from camping to cookie selling.
Perhaps one of the greatest ways a girl's character develops is through the people around her. In Girl Scouts we are surrounded by some of the most passionate and committed adults in Chicago.
My troop leader, Maggi Steib, is the perfect example. She has been with our troop since we were 6 years old. She has watched us grow and has helped us learn how to be young women of character. It didn't happen all at once. She showed us through her examples, and now we are becoming the leaders of our troop. We make decisions. We assume responsibility for our activities.
One of the activities that has influenced my life is selling Girl Scouts cookies. Having goals to strive for in cookies is just like having goals in the real world. You set your goal, try as hard as you can to reach it, and when you do, you celebrate. I've learned how to make my voice heard and how to talk to people I've never met. I take responsibility for managing the customer's money. I've also learned how to be a fair and just person.
In Girl Scouts, we learn invaluable skills and lessons that will last a lifetime. I've learned that a girl of character is loyal and true. A girl of character is committed and dedicated. A girl of character strives until she meets her goals.
I am a girl of character. I am a Girl Scout.
Leah Koch, 14, Chicago