By Michelle Frost

Girl Scouts of America is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with programs from coast to coast and across the globe.

Nearly 2 million girls and 800,000 adults participate in Girls Scouts today.  GSA believes in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) to change the world, offering scouts the chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure and success.

Myla Janssen

One local scout, Myla Janssen, 14, resides with her family in SE and keeps active in Troop #40350 helping to make her community a better place for everyone, especially pets.

Myla’s love of animals led her to choose the Pongo Fund as her 7th grade service project.  She is working to achieve her Silver Award, an accomplishment of 50 or more hours of volunteer service, awarded with a pin and badge to wear proudly on her uniform vest.

Janssen currently works with her friend, Emmy, facilitating the For Paws donation box, a drop box for pet food donations, at 3340 SE Division. She is excited for the Silver Awards ceremony happening in late September.

In addition to her GS meetings and activities, Janssen is involved in theater and soccer.  She begins as a freshman at St. Mary’s High School this school year.

Her interest in Girl Scouts was inspired by friends and her mother when she was in kindergarten. “I was in the same troop from kindergarten until 6th grade when I transferred to a new troop,” she explained. “It’s the same six girls since then so we have a lot of fun.”

Janssen describes her troop leader, Rachel Shields, as being “so supportive and so nice. It’s really hard to get her angry,” she chuckles, “We’re all friends.”

Leading Troop #40350, Shields confesses, “I was a Girl Scout myself growing up. I went all the way through high school, completing my Gold Award, and, as an adult, I got back into the GS organization as a Board Member of Columbia River Council (our council here in Portland before we expanded to a state-wide council) for about 10 or 11 years.”

She later became the leader of her daughter’s GS troop, which started when the girls were Brownies in first grade. “The girls are all in high school now. It’s a lot of fun and I really like this age.”

Besides working full time at AWS Elemental, an Amazon company, Shields volunteers at the Children’s Book Bank, and serves on the Girl Scout Council’s Teen Awards Committee.

That committee approves and awards projects that girls work on for their Gold Award, the highest award in girl scouting.

“Girls are required to meet with the committee to present their project proposal.  Their project must be approved by the committee before they can start working on their Gold Award, and once they have finished their project, usually in a year or so, they come back and present to us again to be approved for the award.

“I really enjoy this committee, and find it uplifting to see so many young women have such passion and interest in bettering their community,” she explains.

Regarding Myla Janssen’s volunteer service, Shields reports, “I am so proud of the work Myla has done to accomplish her Silver Award. She was the sole driver and leader of the entire project.

“She chose the project herself, met with members of the community, like Larry at the Pongo Fund, and figured out how she could help. She was very motivated by her love of animals and her strong ties to the Pongo Fund.

“It has been a delight to see her flourish and accomplish her goals.  I can’t wait to see what she does in her very bright future.”

Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low organized the very first Girl Scout troop 105 years ago on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia. Her vision was to help girls build courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place.

This welcome note, found on their website, invites young girls everywhere to join in the fun of scouting:

“When you unleash your inner G.I.R.L., you can accomplish anything! At Girl Scouts the next opportunity to stand up, speak up, and take the lead is never far away.

“With us, you’ll discover the G.I.R.L. in you, and watch her shine, again and again. Will you find a sustainable solution to a problem in your community? Will you explore the great outdoors? Build a robot? Learn to code? Conduct an experiment? With us, the possibilities are truly endless.

“Discover all you can be and everything you can accomplish when you have the right tools and a safe space to shine and work together to change the world.

“It’s no coincidence GSA is 2 million members strong! Girl Scouts are keeping busy all around us every day with award-winning projects that improve the community we share. If you know a young lady who might be interested, see girlscouts.org.

Girl Scout Promise 

On my honor, I will try: 

 To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times, 

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be

    honest and fair,

    friendly and helpful,

    considerate and caring, 

    courageous and strong, and

    responsible for what I say and do, 

and to  

    respect myself and others, 

    respect authority,

    use resources wisely,

    make the world a better place, and 

    be a sister to every Girl Scout.