Scouts fete 100 years with Service Day

Girl Scouts from Delano, Loretto, Medina and Orono Saturday, Oct. 13, joined scouts from 49 counties in an effort to prevent leaves from entering area lakes and streams and contributing to water pollution.

This giant service project was the last event in the Girl Scouts’ Centennial Celebration. Girls and parents from all 49 counties of the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys Council participated in the event. The Centennial Day of Service: 2012 Take Action Project was designed to keep 20,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering lakes and streams, prevent 10 million pounds of algae growth and save $6 million in clean-up costs through a one-day effort.

Over 100 girls from Delano/Loretto Girl Scout troops and over 100 girls from 13 troops in the Westonka-Orono area were expected to spend the morning raking leaves and grass from storm drain surfaces and public areas, distributing door hangers in neighborhoods to raise awareness, and marking storm drains with an “Only Rain Down the Storm Drain” message.

In Delano, scouts and parents converged on Delano Central Park. In Medina, scouts and volunteers headed for Lakeshore and Walnut Parks, as well as the Elm Creek neighborhood. They filled many bags of leaves, which then were picked up by the Medina and Delano Public Works Departments.

At Medina’s Lakeshore Park, older scouts cleaned up a storm drain that discharges water directly into Lake Independence. Their efforts helped with the clean up of a lake that has been classified as impaired by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The PCA is requiring Medina to do its share in keeping phosphorus out of Lake Independence, and city property owners are paying for this effort directly and indirectly through city and state taxes.

Girl Scout parents at Lakeshore Park expressed excitement at their girls getting Centennial Celebration patches. Some of these parents knew women who treasured their patches from the 50th anniversary celebration.

And the Westonka-Orono scouts were looking forward to raking leaves into a giant pile in the center of Walnut Park and then jumping into them. Of course, they were planning to rake up the leaves afterwards.

In Delano, scouts from Delano/Loretto troops started work at the Central Park gazebo and fanned out from there. They raked away as many leaves as they could in the city’s immense park during the three-hour event. Their efforts prevented phosphorus from leaves getting into storm drains headed directly into the Crow River.

Delano and Loretto girls commented that their leaf raking was much more fun than they had expected.

Fortunately, area Girl Scouts got in most of the work on their service project before it started to rain, thus making leaf raking easier for young arms.

Every year, thousands of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa waterways are polluted with runoff and other contaminants. In partnership with the Freshwater Society and with support from 3M, River Valleys’ Centennial Day of Service honors Girl Scouts’ longstanding tradition of service and gives back to communities that have embraced Girl Scout troops for decades.

Each year, the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys serves nearly 45,000 girls in 49 counties of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. In partnership with nearly 18,000 adult volunteers, River Valleys helps girls discover new abilities, connect with new friends and take action to improve their communities. For information, call 800-845-0787 or visit GirlScoutsRV.org.

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