Exciting things are happening online for Girl Scouts across Western Washington. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Exciting things are happening online for Girl Scouts across Western Washington. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Local Girl Scouts adapt to the pandemic by scouting at home

The coronavirus isn’t stopping these Snohomish County girls from earning badges and awards.

I have acquired the superpower Girl Scout leaders have been dreaming of for 108 years: the mute button. Forget raising two fingers for the quiet sign; all I have to do when I want my troop’s attention is click my mouse. Since early March, we’ve been meeting via Zoom.

It’s been 87 days since I’ve seen my nine Juniors in person, and I sure do miss them. I miss their noise and laughter. I miss the way they’d descend upon my house and make a giant mess and then clean it all up before they went home.

I even miss how they’d sometimes talk while I was talking, before I had the power to mute. But at least I see them every week on my computer.

My troop of fifth graders was supposed to go horseback riding at Lang’s Pony Farm in Mount Vernon this spring. We were to camp at Lyle McLeod in Tahuya, and earn our mechanical engineering badges. Instead, we’re learning about careers.

I put out a call on the Edmonds Moms Facebook group for volunteers, and within a couple of hours I had dozens of moms offering to chat with my troop about women in the workplace. Since then we’ve learned from scientists, archaeologists, fitness instructors, pilots, flight attendants, contractors, salons owners, bakers, clothing designers and more.

Every Monday night the girls log on and we interview a different guest speaker. It’s not the spring programming we planned, but it’s valuable nonetheless.

Other Girl Scouts in Snohomish County are adapting in exciting ways, too. Andraya Bustad’s troop 40886 from Everett has 19 girls, and four of them are Juniors working on their Bronze Award.

The girls’ original plan was to pass out fliers encouraging people to plant an extra row of fruits and vegetables in their garden for local food banks. Instead, the girls created a website highlighting the Plant a Row project in Snohomish County. Put your gardening gloves on and visit sites.google.com/view/troop40886 for their great ideas.

Junior troop 50529 from Mountlake Terrace also has created a fun website to check out. Vonita Francisco’s 14 fourth graders met via Zoom and built a virtual escape room. It highlights the beauty of Camp Robbinswold on the Hood Canal and teaches important survival skills like fire safety and packing the Ten Essentials. Try your luck at shorturl.at/rH138.

The biggest way the pandemic has impacted Girl Scouting is the disruption of cookie sales. COVID-19 caused the Cookie Program to end early and left the Girl Scouts of Western Washington with 300,000 boxes of unsold cookies. This devastating financial loss has caused layoffs, the elimination of key positions and the sale of horses.

But in an extraordinary act of kindness, Bartell Drugs has partnered with the Girl Scouts to sell those cookies while they’re still fresh. Visit any of Bartell’s 67 locations, buy a box of Thin Mints, and you too can help girls in your neighborhood keep on scouting.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

Washington’s most beloved state park turns 100

Deception Pass State Park, which draws as many visitors as the best-known national parks in the U.S., celebrates a century of recreation and conservation

Hydrangea and rose
July checklist for Snohomish County gardeners

After a slow start to summer, things should take off this month. So keep planting and nurturing.

Caption: The 12 week Edmonds Community Police Academy was a free opportunity for private citizens to learn about law enforcement.
An inside look at how law enforcement works

A pregnant mother. A man who rescues abused horses and donkeys. A… Continue reading

Kid 'n Play members Christopher "Kid" Reid, left, and Christopher "Play" Martin perform on NBC's "Today" show during the "I Love The 90's" morning concert at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, April 29, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Relive the music of the 1990s with Kid N Play and other stars of the era at the Tulalip Casino Amphitheater.

So-called relaxing summer vacations can wear you out

To truly enjoy a family getaway, tone down your expectations. Everything won’t be picture-perfect.

Gimmelwald, built in an avalanche zone, yet specializing in alpine tranquility.
Roaming the Alps brings cultural insights along with the views

The Swiss have great respect for Alpine traditions and culture — and contempt for tourists who disrespect both.

Will TripMate cover costs for trip canceled for medical reasons?

After Stanley Wales cancels his diving trip to Bonaire, he files a travel insurance claim with TripMate. What’s taking them so long to respond?

Contestant chef Brian Madayag (left) of Edmonds and West Coast team captain Brooke Williamson on “Beachside Brawl.” (Food Network) 20220616
Edmonds chef reps Pacific Northwest on new Food Network show

Barkada owner Brian Madayaga will compete on a new Food Network series that premiers Sunday.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’ (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’

This Hinoki cypress is graceful and beautiful, and is very drought-tolerant once established.

Photo Caption: Butter prints like this one pressed a design into freshly made butter as a decoration or for marketing. Today, collectors search for antique butter prints and consider them folk art.
19th century farm families’ butter prints are coveted folk art

One example with a flower-and-heart design recently sold at auction for more than $5,000.

After two years of wellness, Covid finally hit this family, but thanks to vaccinations, the symptoms were mild. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Jennifer Bardsley’s fighting COVID-19 with vaccines and TLC

But even with vaccinations, the disease is scary for people like her with less than robust immune systems.

Turkey vultures’ pervious nostrils are among the features that help them feed on carrion. (The Columbian files)
In praise of turkey vultures, nature’s cleaning service

These raptors should be revered, not reviled, for their disposal of stinky, disease-laden animal matter.