Girl Scouts Celebrate Christmas in Indianola
For every gift she gave to an elderly resident this holiday season, Savannah Nissen received a hug in return. And that’s just the way she liked it.
“It’s fun and I’m learning to help older people,” said the 7-year-old Girl Scout. “They wrap their arms around us and tell us ‘thank you’ and that makes me happy.”
This Christmas, Savannah and her Girl Scout sisters in Indianola’s rejuvenated scouting program took on a week-long holiday project that involved organizing gift baskets and delivering them to elderly residents in the community. Those gifts included essential items such as washing products, house shoes, paper products along with candles to enjoy.
“We wanted to instill some important values in these girls like caring and sharing with the elderly,” said Sharease Monroe, Indianola’s Girl Scout coordinator. “Sometimes kids grow up not understanding the simple act of giving without expecting something in return.”
The girls also made Christmas ornaments to distribute to patients in personal care homes, all in conjunction with the Indianola Roosevelt Community Association and through the support of the Indianola Promise Community.
“The Roosevelt Community Association has been helping people in our community for some time and this is just one more effort to make sure our older residents are not forgotten and have a Merry Christmas,” said Monroe.
The Girl Scout program in Indianola had been on the decline in recent years, until the community association decided that young girls in this Delta town needed a new avenue for learning and having fun through activities such as hiking, gardening and community service. An active group of six adult volunteers gives the program its structure and ensure the Girl Scouts stay on the right path.
From science and math programs to entrepreneurship and field trips to events such as Disney on Ice, Girl Scouts offers skills and activities that supplement their school life, while providing ways to be proactive in the community through service projects. Girl Scouts is divided by grade levels, all the way from Kindergarten to high school.
“We have formed a strong partnership with the community,” said Marilyn James, IPC’s Parent Liaison. “If we can take the older girls and make them strong leaders then they can pass that strength to the younger girls and create a cycle of success.”
So far, the Indianola Girl Scout program has recruited about 50 girls from Lockard and Carver Elementary Schools and Merritt Middle School. The goal, said James, is to have 100-150 girls in the program. James’ 12-year-old daughter, Deja, can attest to the importance of the Girl Scouts in the lives of the older residents they visited during the holiday season.
“We entertained them and read books to them and sang Christmas carols,” said Deja. “They seemed very happy to see us and that made me feel good. It’s taught me to share and to be helpful to people who are sick and really just be nice to everybody.”
For more information about joining the Girl Scouts, contact Marilyn James at 662-390-6505.