If you’re a local fan of Girl Scout Cookies, your Thin Mint cravings may have helped some Klamath Falls Girl Scouts take a journey to Europe.
The girls — and a few moms — of Klamath Falls Girl Scout Troop 50432 will leave today to head across the Atlantic to sightsee in Iceland, London, Rome and Paris for almost three weeks. Their trip is almost entirely self-funded from cookie sales and other fundraisers over the past two years.
The girls of Troop 50432 have had the opportunity to travel more regionally before. Previously, their biggest excursion was a road trip to the Grand Canyon, and they’ve been building up to all of these experiences.
“Girl Scouts believes in a progression. The first time we went on a trip, we camped down at the Lava Beds. Then we’ve camped multiple times down at the Redwoods, which is much further away,” Carol Usher, the troop’s primary leader, said. “That allows them to learn how to progress, how to plan and make their goals.”
Evelyn Usher is Carol’s daughter, a member of the troop and a recent graduate of Klamath Union High School. She added that some girls would not have had these traveling opportunities had it not been for the organization.
“For many of these girls, if they hadn’t joined Girl Scouts, they likely wouldn’t have even gone out of the state,” she said.
Cookie sales and other events raised about $3,800 per person to cover the expenses.
Carol Usher talked about what a unique experience this trip will be for some of the girls.
“We’ve had to explain what a body scanner is at the airport, because some of the girls have never been through one,” she said.
“One of the things that I love about Girl Scouts is the travel opportunities, experiencing new things,” Makenzie Elfbrandt, another troop member and recent graduate of Mazama High School, said.
Planning for this big trip has provided a lot of opportunities for these Girl Scouts to expand on their planning and fundraising skills.
“Two years ago we started fundraising and planning for this entire trip,” Elfbrandt said. “We’ve done research upon research.”
‘It’s been amazing to watch them grow and mature, and the leadership skills they’ve received from this,” Carol Usher said.
Other than just cookie sales, the girls have planned and executed a garage sale, an Easter egg hunt, and fundraising dinners to help pay for the trip. Carol Usher said that the Klamath Falls community has been supportive throughout these fundraisers, and that the girls have worked very hard for what is sure to be a memorable experience.
“I’m just really proud of them, so excited for them,” Carol Usher said. “They’ll remember this all their lives.”