RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Girl Scout Troop #1651 is organizing the first Grand Seniors–Girl Scouts Friendship Day. The event is scheduled for Friday Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center. The purpose of the event is for seniors to share their life’s experiences and advice with the girls, and in turn the girls are offering friendship, handmade gifts and eager ears to listen.
Helping seniors with loneliness or feeling valued and appreciated fits in with part of the Girl Scout Promise “to help people at all times.” And this friendship event will provide some much-appreciated companionship for seniors who may feel less of a social connection, due to grown children living far away, absent spouses, retirement from workplace, poor health, or other reasons. The Girl Scouts will learn some valuable lessons from seniors that they may not have a chance to get in their own lives.
“I never grew up with a grandparent figure so having this experience can mean a lot to me to share friendships, and hopefully I can learn some great advice from people with more wisdom,” 14-year-old Girl Scout Ava Rose Wehlage said. “Plus, I really have a heart to reach out to any seniors who want more companionship and want to feel honored for their life knowledge. I hope it’s a great day for all generations. I’m excited about it.”
Girl Scout Troop members Chloe Luwa, Maira Clotfelter, Ava Rose Wehlage, all graduates of R. Roger Rowe Middle School, are organizing the event to help them earn the high honor of the Silver Award — the highest level of achievement possible in Girl Scouts for their age level. This event is Girl Scout-led as opposed to leader led — to give the Scouts a chance to learn and use leadership and event planning skills.
The girls (under the guidance of the adult advisor and with parental support) plan, recruit, and put on the event — so they are very vested in its success and can take pride in creating good will for all.
“It was important to have an event like this because the girls wanted to do something good for the community and we realized that the seniors in our community might be in a stage where they might enjoy more companionship and appreciation from the youth of the community,” Silver Award Girl Scout Troop Leader Jan Wehlage said. “Sometimes once kids are raised, or a partner’s absent, and retirement hours come, things can get a little lonely and a senior with so much to offer might feel undervalued. But the seniors are one of the most valuable resources we have for teaching life lessons achievement, compassion, humility and much more — yet the youth of the town don’t seem to have enough opportunities to interact with them. So, this is a way to try to bridge that connection and make it a win for all. We hope to make it an annual event and bigger and better every year.”
The younger Girl Scouts will be taught the lessons and learn from the fun experience of the day so that they can carry on the new tradition next year. The ultimate goal is real friendships that carry on outside of the event resulting in year-round companionship.
Seniors are invited to meet the Girls Scouts to share their words of advice, smiles and friendship from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, 5970 La Sendita. The event is free and seniors will receive a free appreciation gift, while supplies last. For more info, contact Scout Leader Jan Wehlage at email@example.com.