Renae Leger, Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri recruiter for Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth and Lansing, leads a repeating song during the Fort Leavenworth Girl Scout registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga. Photo by Lisa Sweet/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Fort Leavenworth Girl Scout leaders wel-comed new and returning scouts and their families with a campfire, s’mores and songs at a registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga.

Bambi Kline, Girl Scout troop leader, hands out marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to new Scouts to make s’mores during the Girl Scout registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga. Photo by Lisa Sweet/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Camp Conestoga is the official camp-ground of the Girl Scouts at Fort Leavenworth and was specifically chosen for the event be-cause of what it represents.

“When people think of Girl Scouts they think of outdoor activities.” said Renae Leger, Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri recruiter for Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth and Lansing. “Fort Leavenworth is unique; not a lot of troops have their own campsite. We wanted to show Scouts that they have an amazing opportunity to camp and connect with nature.

”Girl Scouts can earn several outdoor badges as well as other types of badges.“Traditionally Girl Scouts began with out-doors exploration” said Carrie VanNess, troop leader. “Over the years it has changed — there are badges for archery and camping, but also new badges that focus on robotics and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), as well as service and international topics.”

Lainey VanNess, Girl Scout ambassador and trailblazer, and Victoria Kallo, Girl Scout Junior, toast marshmallows together during the Girl Scout registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga. Photo by Lisa Sweet/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Leger explained that Girl Scouts is a girl-led program with older Scouts mentoring younger Scouts. The goal is to have the girls explore their local Scouting community, make friends, and to have a positive experience, whether they are at Fort Leavenworth for only one year or longer.

“My favorite saying is ‘We don’t just sell cookies’” said Bambi Kline, Troop 5463 Trailblazers leader. “Our goal is to help build well-rounded Scouts.”

Girl Scouts from kindergarten through 12th grade were in attendance. The older Scouts helped the younger Scouts make s’mores, showed them how to be safe around the fire, led repeating songs and helped get them excited about their upcoming adventures.

Ansley Vickers, incoming Girl Scout Daisy, toasts a marshmallow for her s’more during the Girl Scout registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga. Photo by Lisa Sweet/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“I love Scouting because of all the opportunities it provides me to connect with nature, learn practical skills and form a group of friends with various interests,” said Ella Barry, 12th grader and Girl Scout Trailblazer, Troop 5463. “I love having the chance to learn auto repair, cooking, hiking and, of course, camping.”

In addition to returning Scouts, several girls were signing up for the first time.“I’m excited to try camping,” said Ansley Vickers, incoming Daisy Scout. “I get to bring a tent, my favorite stuffed animal and make s’mores. I love s’mores, but not if the marshmallow is burned.”

Victoria Kallo, second-year Junior Girl Scout, said there was a lot to like about Scouting.

Addison Ontiveros, Girl Scout Brownie, toasts a marshmallow for her s’more during the Girl Scout registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga. Photo by Lisa Sweet/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“I like Girl scouts because we go camping and do a lot of outdoor adventures” Kallo said. “I earned my simple meals badge last year by making spaghetti on a (camp) fire. We also learned fire building and safety. And going hiking is my favorite because we learn to identify different types of trees and flowers.”

The night ended with a traditional Girl Scout circle where the youngest and the oldest Scouts sang the common refrain: “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”

The next opportunity to register for Girl Scouts is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Fort Leavenworth Spouses’ Club Super Sign-up event at the Frontier Conference Center. Incoming Girl Scouts can also register online at gsksmo.org/fun. For more information call (816) 769-3071 or e-mail rleger@gsksmo.org.

Ella Barry, Girl Scout ambassador and trailblazer, assembles a s’more during the Girl Scout registration event Aug. 28 at Camp Conestoga. Photo by Lisa Sweet/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

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