A group of local Girl Scouts recently enjoyed the fruits of months of hard work that culminated in a trip to Washington, D.C.
Months of selling sweets and performing odd jobs went into raising the funds to allow Veronica Smith, Faye Campbell, Amira Schrippe, Mabel Schrippe and Julia Campbell from Troop 71883, ages 5 through 11, to travel with troop leader Darcy Campbell, parents Renae Smith and Patricia Schrippe, and Miranda Smith, an older sister of one of the troop members.
The girls stopped by the Quill to talk about the experience and said they appreciated the history they saw while taking in the sights and sounds of a big city. Amira, for instance, noted the squirrels are a lot more friendly there. She said she definitely wants to go back someday. She and the other girls were impressed by a huge escalator they rode several times.
Veronica recalled the group was walking past the White House when a staff member yelled “Excuse me!” and ran to catch up with the group as they walked down the street. At first, the girls thought they had done something wrong because the area was being cleared of pedestrians and staff members were barking orders for visitors to leave.
However, the man who called after them had just wanted to give the scouts boxes of candy from the White House, stamped with President Donald Trump’s signature.
Veronica also said she was surprised the White House really looks white. She added she enjoyed the street performers there.
Mabel tried sushi for the first time and was entrusted to order for everybody at Le Pain Quotidien, an all-natural and organic restaurant near several D.C. attractions. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum was her favorite highlight.
The group hammed it up while posing for a picture in a display of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, pretending to be the Revolutionary War soldiers accompanying General Washington.
While Mabel said she liked the big city, she noticed, “You can’t park anywhere.” Troop leader Darcy pointed out, while the group traveled to the city in a rented van, the hotel where the group stayed was close enough to take advantage of the city’s public transportation system.
Julia’s favorite site was the Martin Luther King Jr., memorial. She said she was inspired by quotes from King’s “I Have A Dream” speech inscribed on the wall behind it, as well as King’s part in advancing civil rights and abolishing segregation.
She also learned the FBI is “kind of like the police for the whole country.” Seeing the bullet-riddled boat where Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was cornered by FBI agents was memorable to her. The group had been treated to a rare tour of FBI headquarters, where the boat is displayed.
Julia recalled that Tsarnaev survived the hail of gunfire because he was hiding behind the boat’s engine, which stopped some of the bullets.
Faye agreed the FBI tour was a highlight of the trip, and added the training is “more strict” than that of other police. She and the others were able to watch agents in the exercise yard and see the FBI shooting range.
The girls took quizzes for FBI job placement: Amira, Mabel and Julia were placed as special agents, Veronica was deemed suitable for administration and Faye’s ideal placement, the test determined, was as a lab tech.
The significance of the historical sites and monuments was not lost on the adults chaperoning the trip, who perhaps had a different perspective and appreciation influenced by age and life experience. The itinerary included the Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. monuments, along with the International Spy Museum, the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Air and Space Museum.
The group also visited the Korean War and Iwo Jima memorials. Renae said she became emotional at the Korean Memorial when she saw Honor Flight veterans making a visit. She thanked them for their service and got teary when she saw a “thank you” on the memorial from students of a Seoul, Korea, high school.
Patricia remembered the Lincoln Monument in a word: “gorgeous.”
Darcy described the trip as “magical” and was impressed by how respectful the girls were at the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial.
The trip was funded in part by Girl Scout Cookie and bake sales, as well as odd jobs including picking up rocks in a horse arena, gift wrapping at Christmas and picking up and selling a thousand pounds of walnuts, the troop leader said.
“We are thankful to the community for their support,” she added. Patricia said she was grateful for everyone that gave the girls an opportunity to earn money for the trip.
The troop is planning for its next big trip to Savannah, Ga., the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.