Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Can a Troop Do?

Senior/Ambassador Troop 836 Volunteered Time with the Navajo Nation!

By Senior/Ambassador Troop 836

Senior/Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 836 from Rockville Centre had an amazing time volunteering in the Navajo Nation.  We spent 7 days in Tuba City, Arizona helping, learning and laughing.  We had been planning for a “big” trip for 5 years, but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that we decided to go to the Navajo Nation.  We participated in Mags&Munchies, sold Girl Scout Cookies, ran activity days and hosted a tag sale all to raise money towards our goal. The cost of our trip was $1,381 per girl, so we wanted to raise as much money as possible to off-set the cost of the trip… in the end we ended up earning about $800 from the different money earning opportunities in which we participated. We planned our trip through Amizade Global Service Learning.

We volunteered in the St. Jude's Food Bank and Garden in Tuba City where we stocked shelves, repackaged food, pulled weeds, harvested vegetables, transplanted seedlings, and prepared boxes of food for delivery.  The director of the food bank said that we did three weeks worth of work in 3 days! That’s the Girl Scout way!

This connection at the food bank inspired us to do our Take Action Project for the Sow What Journey in conjunction with St. Jude's Food Bank and Garden in Tuba City.  While at the food bank, it was expressed that there is a need for a recipe book and resource guide for their clients… we plan to tackle this project!  We also helped at a 6k race.  Running is a tradition and a passion for the Navajo people.

Not only did we spend time volunteering at Navajo Nation, we also spent time having fun and learning about the history of the reservation. In the late afternoons, we would go see the sites on the reservation and in the evenings listen to speakers who taught us about the Navajo history and culture. The Dine (the Navajo’s name for themselves) are a matriarchal society who value family.  While in the Navajo Nation we learned all about their creation story, the Sacred Four Mountains, the Kinaalda Ceremony, the Sweat Lodge Ceremony, the Hogan, the Code Talkers of WWII and the Long Walk to name just a few. We danced and sang Navajo songs.

We visited Coal Mine Canyon, Dinosaur Footprints, Monument Valley, Newspaper Rock, Explore Navajo Museum, and the Grand Canyon. On the Fourth of July, we went to a carnival and watched fireworks. On the way back from Tuba City to catch our flight in Phoenix we visited Wapiti and Sunset Crater National Monuments.

We stayed on the reservation in a host family home and our guide Melissa and her family went everywhere with us.  We met her clan family and they shared their lives with us. 
There is no way to put into words the impact this trip had on us.  We were very sad to leave and have made a vow to return.  When we had first planned this trip, we thought a service trip would be a good idea and that it would look good on our college resumes.  None of us thought we would enjoy this trip as much as we did. We all completely agree, this trip was a blast and we have made lasting friendships and amazing memories.

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