Indiana Township woman leads Girl Scouts through life's journey

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Girl Scouts leaders do more than organize the activities.

They take their troops on life-altering journeys.

And Christie Stevenson is taking those trips with her three daughters.

Stevenson is the leader for her daughters Olivia's and Ariana's troops. She is also an assistant leader for Katrina's troop.

And her efforts for the Scouts do not stop there. She is cookie chairman for the Fox Chapel service area sale and camp director for the summer camp.

The end goal of the journey, said Stevenson, is to give the girls the tools need to step into a leadership position themselves.

“Leadership — that's what it's all about,” she said. “I think by doing these journeys the last three years, the girls are stepping into leadership and taking action.”

The older girls are working toward the goals of earning silver and gold levels — the gold being equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Scout award.

Silver and gold journeys, said Stevenson, are major undertakings.

“For silver, the girls work in groups of three or four on a project that has a lasting legacy,” she said. “There must be a plan for the project and a plan how it will be used in the future.”

For example, she said, a project to build a gazebo wouldn't be enough to earn the silver level. The Scouts would also to be a plan on how the gazebo would be used.

“The journey must teach something and give to the community,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson's troop worked on a sisterhood journey in which they studied the relationships that affect their lives, how those connections grow or change, and what issues affect the girls and women around them.

While Girl Scouts spend plenty of time performing serious tasks, the young women have fun, too.

One fun activity the Scouts offer is as Sunset Camp, of which Stevenson is the director.

This year's camp, which starts just before sunset, takes place during the end of July, and has an international theme.

The camp, Stevenson said, will offer the girls a chance to try new experiences.

It also provides leadership opportunities for the older girls.

Scouts in sixth grade to seniors in high school act as facilitators for the younger Scouts who are as young as kindergartners.

Held at Camp Guyasuta in O'Hara, near Sharpsburg, Sunset Camp is one of only several camping experiences for the girls, who take to the great outdoors every few months.

Some of the camps in the area offer archery and rock climbing, Stevenson said.

“Do I like camping? Yes and no. If there were no bugs it would be better,” Stevenson said while laughing.

When camping the girls cook pancakes, tacos and apple pies — all on campfires.

They also explore and learn about nature.

“It steps you out of your everyday life, makes you have fun,” Stevenson said.

Besides giving her time to the Girl Scouts, Stevenson helps out at Fox Hill Preschool.

“I find enough things to do even though I'm not working,” she said.

Lucky for the local Girl Scouts, she finds the time in to help the local girls on their journeys to adulthood.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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