When I think of Girl Scouts, what usually comes to mind are camping trips, parades and cookies.
But a dedicated local Girl Scout troop is taking its scouting experience one step further by focusing on social responsibility.
Troop 460 meets each week at Gilwood Presbyterian Church on Odell School Road. They go on camping trips and march in parades, and of course they sell cookies.
But this year, they are offering a special gift with each cookie sale. It is called a Mors bag, a reusable shopping bag. Handmade by each girl from recycled cloth, one Mors bag has the potential to replace hundreds of plastic bags over its lifetime.
"The girls were very excited about the Mors bag project," troop leader Jennifer Hall said. "They are acutely aware of recycling and energy conservation, and this project fits well into that. Our badge work this year is very focused on energy and recycling."
A Davidson native, Hall has been involved in Girl Scouts ever since she was a Brownie in second grade. She stayed in Girl Scouts all the way until she was in college, and worked as a counselor at Camp Occoneechee, which for years was the summer camp for the local Hornet's Nest Council.
"I think I have about 17 official years as a registered Girl Scout, but about 35 chronological years as a person," Hall said. "There has never been a time when I didn't consider myself as a Girl Scout."
Two of Hall's children are members of her combined Brownie/Junior troop. Her daughter Melanie is a Junior Girl Scout; her other daughter, Beth, is a Brownie.
"I like teaching girls things they might not learn anywhere else, and we have lots of fun learning things together," Hall said. "We get to do things that we might not do otherwise, everything from gem mining to camping to spending a night in a museum.
"Girls hear from their friends at school what their Girl Scout friends are doing and how much fun they are having, and they want to do it, too."
So if you want to treat yourself to some yummy cookies, reduce waste, conserve resources and protect nature all at the same time, look for Troop 460's cookie table at the Bi-Lo Supermarket on Cannon Boulevard in Kannapolis this afternoon.
They also will be at the Wal-Mart in Kannapolis Saturday afternoon and at the Wal-Mart near Concord Mills on March 5, as well as other area sites over the next few weeks.
For details on how you, your family, your school or your community can become more socially responsible, go to www.morsbags.com.
"So much of what we do goes unnoticed by so many, because we are sometimes quiet about what we do," Hall said. "I would challenge the readers to ask their friends and neighbors and people they work with if they had ever been involved in (Girl) Scouts. It would be really interesting to find out just how widespread the Scouting influence really is."