By Anne Eickstadt


The Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois hosted a craft fair on Saturday, Nov. 12 at VFW Post 1461, located at 1310 W. Lincoln Ave. in Belvidere.

“Girl Scouts are girl led. We’re just along for the ride,” Girl Scout Troop Leader Michelle Dixon said. “The girls came up with craft ideas and made the crafts themselves. Today’s Craft Fair is to raise money for our service unit – the Girl Scout Troops in Boone County. It’s an opportunity for the Girl Scouts to raise money outside of the cookie sales and the fall nuts/chocolate/magazine sales.”

This service helped the girls learn about being environmentally conscious.

“One journey the girls can choose to go on is being eco-friendly,” Troop Leader Lucinda Maida said.

The girls understood the message of saving the environment by reusing recyclable materials in their crafts.

“We didn’t waste any of the stuff,” Girl Scout Brook Thornton said. “We made this,” indicating the squirt bottles of air freshener and window cleaner, “so air would be clean.”

Troop 191 also chose to make brightly painted light switch covers to remind people to turn off the lights when they leave a room and microwavable heating pads. They took clay flower pots and made wind chimes and solar powered ‘lighthouses’ to place by sidewalks.

Leader Diana Ward has lead Girl Scout troops for 25 years. She currently leads a troop for her granddaughters.

“We are trying to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” Ward said. “We encourage girls to decide what kind of badges they want and find what skills and abilities they have. I have done things with my girls that I never would have done on my own. I have climbed a rock wall. The girls wanted to leave me there.”

The Girl Scouts always are open to new recruits.

“We are always looking for girls,” Dixon said. “We are always looking for leaders. It is a way to give back. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”

Ward agreed the experience leading the girls is highly rewarding.

“It is a lot of fun,” Ward said. “It’s a volunteer position but it has its rewards – like watching the girls try new things and make a network of friends outside of their own school. Girl Scouts is for kindergarten through high school graduation.”

Girls will be able to meet other community girls of their own age group, while completing community service projects.

“The troops are organized by grade level so the girls will be with their own age group,” Dixon said. “They do different service projects around the community. We cleared out invasive plants around an area for the conservation district and replanted the area. The girls built a kids’ nature area.”

Outside community service projects, the girls can experience fun community events.

“We do parades. The girls really like the Christmas parade. We do pool parties, the Cookie Ball, a day camp in June, and the Fall Fest. We come up with events to let the troops work together,” Dixon said. “Girls can join any time. Every school in Boone County has students that are in a troop. We have offices and a store in Rockford not far from Woodman’s, or you can go online and visit”

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