Editor’s note: This is the second article in a two-part series about Scouting opportunities for boys and girls in the community.

By Ashley Bergner
Newton Kansan
More than 1,000 boxes — 1,058 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to be exact.
It’s a big number, and particularly impressive in they all were sold by one 7-year-old Newton Girl Scout.
Hallie Watkins, a member of Troop 40308, had an original goal of selling 1,001 boxes, but she has far surpassed that, said her mother and troop leader Melanie Watkins.
“She just kept on going,” said Watkins, who also is the executive director of CASA. “...She did a great job.”
Hallie is one of 232 Girl Scouts in Harvey County. According to Cat Poland, director of communications with Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, there are 28 troops in Harvey County, with troops in Newton, Halstead, Hesston, Sedgwick and Burrton.
Girls can join the program in kindergarten and stay involved through their senior year of high school, said Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland CEO Shelly Chenoweth, who grew up in Newton.
Chenoweth said the Girl Scouting program is designed to motivate girls to “discover, connect, take action” and “learn about the world around them.”
Girls have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities. Chenoweth mentioned Scouts who have dressed in period costumes and baked bread at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita; spent the night at the Kansas Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson; and done robotics projects. Community service also is an important component of Girl Scouting, she said. “It’s so much more than just girls out selling cookies.”
But Chenoweth added that even more importantly, Scouting gives girls a chance to build their self esteem, learn to set goals and stand out in their communities, and make a positive difference in the world.
“It’s important that young girls understand the importance of a community,” Watkins said. “It’s important to help out others, to be a good friend, a good community member.”
Although the girls in Watkins’ troop are no older than 6 or 7 years old and are in their first year of Girl Scouts, they already are working to make a difference.
The troop as a whole has sold 3,743 boxes of cookies.
“We have a lot of girls that are really excited about selling cookies,” Watkins said.  “...I’m pretty excited, and pretty proud of them.”
A portion of each sale will stay with the troop, and the girls decided they want to donate some of that money to a charity in Newton.
“Every single little girl talked about helping others,” Watkins said. “...I think that’s pretty impressive. Most kids that age don’t really understand there’s people out there that need help.”
Want to get involved in the Scouting experience? Contact Patty Williams at (888) 472-3683 or pwilliams@kansasgirlscouts.org. Visit http://kansasgirlscouts.org/.
You also can attend the 2011 Girl Scout Summer Camp Sampler Day to find out more about summer camp and meet some of the camp staff. The event is from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the Newton Little House, 715 Washington. It is a free event and open to all ages, no reservations required. Contact Mary Wilson at 684-6531 for more information.