Scouts serve community

Abby Klubeck, Staff Writer

Anjali Bose (12) prepares women’s care packages to give to educational staff. Her troop began volunteering April 2020 to assist frontline workers at medical facilities and the elderly at senior centers. Photo by Cara Tran.

Proudly sporting her brownie sash embellished with patches, an eight-year-old Jillian Ruiz-Delacruz (12) sat behind a fold-out table decorated with cookie boxes, waiting patiently to solicit her next customer. 

Jillian Ruiz-Delacruz (12) joined Girl Scouts in second grade after seeing that her friends were all in a troop together. 

“I had wanted to do Girl Scouts since kindergarten, but my mom didn’t know how to sign me up,” Ruiz-Delacruz said. “I’d see my friends wearing their little vests, and I remember really wanting to wear one too.” 

As a brownie, Ruiz-Delacruz’s troop would participate in activities such as earning badges together or going on camping trips to Big Bear.

Now, as a senior, Ruiz-Delacruz continues Girl Scouts and is striving towards selling her lifetime goal of 5,000 boxes of cookies. 

A lifetime goal is set by the Girl Scout organization. There are ladders and tiers for each milestone you can reach, and the highest tier is 5,000. If Ruiz-Delacruz meets that goal, she will earn the badge and receive a certificate from the Girl Scout organization. 

To meet her goal, this year she needs to sell around 1,800 boxes of cookies. She has been bringing cookies to school in a duffel bag, promoting her cookies to her friends, and broadcasting it in all of her classrooms, in an effort to reach out to the most customers possible.

Instead of sticking to Girl Scouts for the badges and camping trips, Ruiz-Delacruz said selling cookies is what motivated her to continue. 

“As I got older, there was definitely a loss of motivation to keep doing Girl Scouts,” she said. “But I think the big thing for me was selling cookies because that’s always been really fun for me. I really like being able to stand in front of stores and sell to people and make them happy.”

Ruiz-Delacruz enjoys selling cookies because of the different types of exchange she gets to experience with other people. 

“It’s a different interaction than what I experience in my everyday life.”

Alongside cookie selling, Ruiz-Delacruz also participates in community service as a Girl Scout. To receive her Girl Scout Silver Award, Ruiz-Delacruz built a Little Free Library book exchange in front of her house.

“People come and take a book and leave a book, which is really cool to see people actually use,” Ruiz-Delacruz said. 

Similarly, Anjali Bose (12) has also been a Girl Scout since second grade. According to Bose, she originally joined her troupe as a way to branch out and meet new people. 

 “My mom had put me in Girl Scouts because I just moved schools and it was sort of a way to make friends with the girls in my neighborhood and everything,” Bose said. “From there, I mainly stayed in it because of the friendship that we created, which was a lot of fun when I was younger.” 

Around middle school, two people in  Bose’s troop moved across the country, which resulted in their troop splitting apart. From sixth to ninth grade, Bose became a “Juliette,” or a girl who participates in Girl Scouts individually, instead of as a part of a troop. 

“Because I wasn’t part of a troop anymore,  the friendship part of Girl Scouts wasn’t the thing that kept me interested,” Bose said. “It was more of working towards community service and being able to help my community.” 

In ninth grade, Bose was able to join her sisters’ troop, and started focusing on opportunities she was offered through Girl Scouts. For example, a program called Emerging Leaders is where you get to meet professionals in different career fields. Through Emerging Leaders, Bose was able to interview district attorney Summer Stephan. 

“I have an interest in the law field, which is why I was super interested in working with Summer Stephan. Through the Emerging Leaders meeting, I definitely met a lot of interesting people, but people in the law field were the most interesting to me.” 

Last July, Bose received her Girl Scout Gold Award. To earn the award, Bose used her ten years of karate experience to hold five 2-day virtual workshops to teach self-defense to young individuals, specifically other Girl Scouts and children with special needs. 

“I had about 480 participants nationally,” Bose said. “The workshops focused on the physical aspect of self-defense, like how to punch and kick properly, and how to aim.”

While teaching physical self-defense, Bose also focused on the mental aspects of self-defense.

“We focused on building self-confidence and awareness in different situations,” Bose said. “At the conclusion of the workshop, a feedback form was given to all students; by far, the majority of the comments received were in regards to the engaging teaching methods and confidence-boosting environment.”

Bose’s troop has a cookie-selling goal of 5,000 this year and plans to put the money raised towards helping their community. 

“My troop has this campaign that we’ve been doing where we put care packages together for frontline workers, like firefighters and police officers,” Bose said, “Most troops use their money to go to theme parks and stuff, but all of our profits go towards the campaign, which is why we have such a high cookie-selling goal.”

Bose said she believes that people tend to only associate Girl Scouts with elementary schoolers and cookie sales, and tend to disregard the accomplishments of older Girl Scouts.

“People just associate Girl Scouts with selling cookies instead of the fact that as we progress through the program, we are building interpersonal skills, like confidence, public speaking, and demonstrating empathy,” Bose said. 

As the end of her Girl Scout career approaches, Ruiz-Delacruz said she hopes to pass on the knowledge she’s gained from her ten years of cookie-selling experience to her younger cousin.

“I think it’s important for older girls to show younger girls how much you can get out of Girl Scouts, so I wanted to help her at her own booth sale and show her the ropes,” she said.