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Area Girl Scouts Embark on Trip of a Lifetime

Girl Scouts from Burke, Springfield and Fairfax Station learn leadership skills while raising money for their trip.

Girl Scouts Emma Henderson and Rylie Smedley, both Fairfax County residents, have spent countless weekends raising money for their trip to Europe.

Girl Scouts Emma Henderson and Rylie Smedley, both Fairfax County residents, have spent countless weekends raising money for their trip to Europe. Photo by Janelle Germanos

Under the leadership of Troop Leader Sandy Latta, Girl Scouts from Burke, Springfield, Fairfax Station and the Fredericksburg area will be traveling to Europe this summer.

Girl scouts Katie Campbell, Hannah Hirsh, Emily Latta, Rebecca Cox, Rylie Smedley, Emma Henderson, Emmylou Kidder and Veronica Talbert are learning leadership skills and how to interact with the community while fundraising for the trip.

Although the trip will be fun, Latta said it is important that the community recognizes the tremendous effort the girls are undergoing to make the trip possible.

“It may seem glamorous, but the girls are putting in so many hours into making sure the trip can happen,” Latta said. “It’s going to be a very educational trip and the girls are already learning important leadership skills.”

Latta and six other parents will travel to London and Switzerland, visiting two Girl Scout World Centers.

“I’ve always wanted to see Europe,” said Rylie Smedley, a freshman at West Springfield High School who is going on the trip.

Smedley said the troop has been working countless hours in order to ensure the trip’s success. The girls are responsible for raising a third of the trips cost, which she said can be challenging.

“They’ve given up so much of their weekends,” Latta said.

The troop has been leading several money raising events in order to make the trip a reality, including car washes and badge workshops for younger Girl Scouts.

“They have learned leadership skills, financial management, marketing, and team work through raising money for this trip,” Latta said. “They really have to put themselves out there.”

Emma Henderson, a senior at South County High School, said it is trips, in addition to other activities, that make staying in Girl Scouts worthwhile.

“There is this stigma that it’s not as cool to do once you are older, but that’s not true,” Henderson said.

Latta said the trip will be a truly educational experience, as the troop will be exposed to different cultures. The girls on the trip will be able to study culture, language, history, currency, fashion, and cuisine, while learning about Girl Scouts in Europe.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how Girl Scouts operate in different countries,” Smedley said.

Anita Cox, a parent from Burke who will be going on the trip, said that Girl Scouts is effective not only because of the dedication of the troop members, but the parents as well.

“Parents are a big thing. If you don’t have a great adult volunteer leader, it won’t go anywhere,” Cox said.

Latta said the trip shows the importance of Girl Scouts in the community.

“Even if you look at the Girl Scout Cookies program, it’s all about marketing,” Latta said. “Everything is about teaching them about how to give back to the community.”

The troop will continue to raise money until their trip this summer. On March 23, the troop is hosting Joni Daniels, a national speaker and author at the Springfield Country Club.

“Through the fundraising efforts for this trip, we are really empowering others to dream big,” Latta said.