By ED SALVAS
The gym at Barack Obama Elementary School in Asbury Park was crowded with young girls ready to start selling Girl Scout Cookies as part of their after school program sponsored by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.
The girls, in Kindergarden through fifth grade, had been practicing greeting customers and making change and were ready to go. A customer approached the table and chose a box of the popular Thin Mints and asked “how much?”
“Four dollars,” said the young seller. “Two for eight dollars.” The Girl Scouts have been conducting the after-school program in Asbury Park for 15 years, according to DeAnna Osborne, Director of the Community Program for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, and this term there are 177 girls taking part at the Barack Obama, Thurgood Marshall and Bradley Schools. Graduate students from Rutgers University, called Facilitators, design and implement the programs. Currently, students Amanda Fresnics of Ocean Grove and Danielle Trapani of Forked River are working on the programs and the girls earn badges for each one they complete, according to Fresnics.
“We typically adapt programs that cater to different age levels. As our mission statement is “building girls of confidence, character, and courage”, we also try to engage the older girls in leadership positions.’
Fresnics said. “Ultimately, our aim is to provide these girls with an opportunity to build their confidence while developing transferable skills, whether it be making friends, practicing kindness, or gardening. A majority of the girls are eager to engage. At the culmination of each program the girls are awarded a badge, which they can iron onto their vests that we provided this year.”
The cookie sale coincides with the official Girl Scout Cookie sale now taking place everywhere. Osborne said the money earned by girls in the local schools stays in the school to continue the program in Asbury Park. This is also the 100th anniversary of Girl Scout Cookies and it’s being celebrated with a new cookie, “The Girl Scout S’More.”
The cookie sale at Barack Obama School was the first of three scheduled in Asbury Park in March. The next sale takes place Friday March 10 at Thurgood Marshall School and on Friday March 24 at the Bradley Elementary School. All sales are open to the public and take place from 2:30 to 3:30 PM.
The Girl Scout program is open to all girls in Asbury Park no matter where they attend school. Girls interested in the scouting program in can contact DeAnna Osborne at 732-938-5454 or on-line at firstname.lastname@example.org.