Girl Scouts

ERIC POOLE | Herald

Bryndle Berger, left, and Avery Pears, new Girl Scouts, use sticks to play the "Wall of Sound" at Munnell Run Farm in Coolspring Township.

COOLSPRING TOWNSHIP — Bryndle Berger is one of the Girl Scouts’ newest members, and she was excited to start working toward her first patch.

The 5-year-old Mercer girl was making the rounds May 23 at Munnell Run Farm, when she ran up to her father Anthony Berger to show him what she learned about buttercups.

“I like butter,” she said, laughing as she showed her father how the flower’s yellow reflection appeared under her chin when a scout leader held a buttercup against her chin.

She quickly ran back to her new peers, who were completing an outdoor scavenger hunt as part of a Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania registration event held at the farm in Coolspring Township.

Bryndle and two other brand new Girl Scouts participated in several outdoor activities at the demonstration farm, a project of Mercer County Conservation District, under the watchful eyes of adult scout leaders and older teenage scouts who sometimes pitched in alongside the younger girls.

“We love to do events like this,” said Andie Hannon, recruitment specialist for GSWPA, watching as the girls studied a spiderweb.

Several girls signed up, joining at the rank of Daisies as part of the Mercer Area Girl Scouts under Viki Berger, leader of Troop 30040, and Bryndle’s grandmother.

Berger, who is also manager for Service Unit 3641, has been involved with Girl Scouts for 27 years, and she enjoys helping the girls learn new skills and take on community service projects.

Girls entering kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to register with troops near their homes. An extended membership fee for new scouts is $35, which will run through Sept. 30, 2022, and the discount is available until July 31.

The organization continues to offer traditional activities and badge work like cookie sales, camping and first aid, but the Girl Scouts has added so much more over the years, Berger and Hannon said.

New programs like STEM, coding and cybersecurity help girls discover new interests and potential career paths.

Roughly 18,000 Girl Scouts — and counting — are part of GSWPA. Hannon said the growing numbers mean the organization needs more adult volunteers and troop leaders.

“Mentors are the most important thing for the next generation,” she said.

Hannon said it is rewarding to be part of an organization that inspires, engages and empowers girls to become great leaders.

Kelsey Marsh was a Girl Scout growing up, and she loved spending time outdoors and making new friends.

Now she’s enjoying those activities again as a leader of Troop 36870 in Mercer.

“I love watching the girls learn,” she said.

The scouts make a difference in their communities with a variety of projects and initiatives, Hannon said. Munnell Run Farm is home to several Girl Scout projects, like a musical-themed sound wall, which uses items like buckets and metal cake pans that the girls struck with sticks to create sounds, and bird-feeding station.

The girls went home Sunday with a list of activities — including a do-it-yourself rocket made with straws — for the “Get Outdoors Challenge,” and a lucky penny for Sunday’s “National Lucky Penny Day.”

Hannon said the troop encourages girls to try out the activities with their Girl Scouts.

For more information about joining Girl Scouts, visit www.gswpa.org or call 1-800-248-3355.

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