The Girl Scouts are looking for a few good young women.
An American Fork family is starting up a new troop of Girl Scouts and is looking for both girls and parent volunteers to help with the program. Athena Champneys was involved in the Girl Scout program when she lived in Ogden. Champneys moved to Sandy, but she knew the stay would be temporary, so she put off starting a troop there. Now that her family is settled in American Fork, she is ready. Three daughters -- Kiralee, 14; Chiaura, 11; and Kalista, 9, are also ready to start the activities. Her husband, Adam, will be a co-leader of the troop.
Those who have questions or are interested in joining may attend a parent meeting at 5 p.m. on Aug. 17. It will be at the Community Presbyterian Church, 75 N. 100 East, American Fork, which is where the troop will be based. Although most of its meetings will be held at the church, the troop is non-denominational.
"If you are a girl, are in grades four through 10, come have fun," Athena Champneys said. "It doesn't matter what your race, creed or color. Just come and be a part of this troop."
Chiaura also invited others to join.
"I really like Girl Scouts a lot," she said. "There is a ton of fun. I think that people should join in so they can have fun with us. It is sometimes more fun with more kids."
"Girl Scouts is more fun with a lot of people," she said. "You can do more things like a friendship circle. My favorite thing is arts and crafts."
To accomplish the troop's goals takes teamwork, and the Champneys are seeking help from parents.
"We would like everybody to come to the meeting Aug. 17," Athena Champneys said. "We will tell you what you need to do to get your daughter involved. We ask for one parent with each girl." She said if people are unable to attend that day, they may call her at (801) 473-8859.
Parents can help throughout the year, at varying levels.
"Depending on how deeply you want to be involved, there could be extra classes, you could be an extra driver, or just bring snacks and goodies," she said. "We could use help for sewing on badges. There is so much that parents can really help with."
Some of the fun activities the group is planning this year are camping, learning to cook with a Dutch oven, going to Antelope Island, the Clark Planetarium, the Living Planet Aquarium, and on an astronomy camping trip.
"We will probably do something to help out with the food bank," Athena Champneys said. The Community Presbyterian Church, where the meetings will be held, is working on a project to make a playground for autistic children, and Champneys said the girls could help that cause.
"With the church, I have been talking about doing a spaghetti dinner fundraiser," she said. "They are trying to get their playground remodeled for autistic children. The girls would prepare the dinner, and the proceeds would go toward helping build the playground."
Finding the church to meet in was somewhat serendipitous.
The Champneys were at Fresh Market across 100 East from the church, and heard the bells ringing when they came out. That prompted them to go and ask if they would be willing to provide a location for the girls. Reverend Al Hammond agreed, and the ground was laid to begin the troop.
"We have a beautiful building with some generous people," Athena Champneys said.
The leaders have undergone training and are ready to start Troop 532. At first it will be a combined troop.
"You only need five girls to start a troop," Athena Champneys said. "Right now I have plenty of girls for our juniors and cadets." Those are fourth- through eighth-graders.
Ninth- and 10th-grade girls make up seniors and Champneys is looking for more of those.
"I really need more ninth- and 10th-grade girls who want to participate," she said. "As soon as we get enough, we will break out and start their own troop."
The older girls have additional opportunities.
"They can do extra activities including doing additional fundraising and going out of state and even out of the country," she said.
Even with those opportunities, she said the best part is right at home.
"Meeting new friends is the biggest thing," she said. "We want them to be able to meet new kids, have fun and have a couple of hours every couple of weeks to gain new experiences." The troop will meet twice a month.
Along with having fun, they will be learning skills.
"The kitchen will be available to do cooking projects," she said. "One day they will grow up and have their own place. It will be nice to be able to cook something other than macaroni and cheese or ramen noodles."
The new troop will be part of the Sunrise Service Unit, which includes areas bordered by Alpine, American Fork, Eagle Mountain and Lehi.
"They are all excited I was starting a large group," she said. She hopes to increase the overall numbers. "I know there are approximately 300 girls in our service unit that have registered for this year. One of my personal goals is to have about 1,000 girls in the next five years."
There is an annual registration fee of $12 that goes to the Girl Scout Council and provides insurance for the girls.
Troop dues are $10 a month, but the leaders stressed that they do not want that to keep any interested girl from participating.
"If anybody isn't able to handle the fees, they should still come," Athena Champneys said. "Come in and talk to me. I am sure we can work something out."
Adam Champneys agreed.
"We would rather have the girls than not have them because they can't pay for it," he said.
For more information, contact Athena Champneys at (801) 473-8859.