The seven members of Girl Scout Troop 747 know that every stitch sewn, package wrapped, table bused, car washed and cookie sold gets them one step closer to Switzerland.
To reach their two-year goal of attending the World Girl Scout Center in Adelboden, Switzerland, the seven teens have become fixtures busing tables for tips at Cici's Pizza on Tuesdays and Fridays and washing cars at Sonic on Washington Road in Evans each Saturday.
They've also sewn and sold fleece pillows and scarves, peddled homemade bean soup, wrapped gifts at Borders, held yard sales and been hosts of tea parties to pay their way, said troop adviser Elaine Lea, of Martinez.
Although most troops spent money they raised through the popular cookie sales on trips and tours stateside, Troop 747 has been saving its "cookie bucks" and worked other fundraisers for two years to pay the tab on the $19,000 Switzerland trip.
The girls chose Switzerland over other world centers in India, Mexico and England and this will be their first trip overseas, they said.
"We were trying to choose the best place for us," said 18-year-old Greenbrier High School senior Kristen Moore.
At Adelboden, a city south of Bern, the girls will learn from and interact with other Girl Scouts from throughout the world, Lea said. They will camp out under the stars in the Alps, hike, ride on horseback, learn about the culture, history and nature surrounding them and take excursions to sites throughout the countryside, the girls said.
"I think getting to meet people from other countries will broaden the experience and show us the diversity of Girl Scouting; it's all over the world," said 18-year-old Jennifer Van Duyn, a senior at Lakeside High School.
With little more than a month to go before their May 28 departure date, the troop is still $5,500 short, Lea said. As is the Girl Scout way, the money the girls have earned is pooled and if that $19,000 total isn't reached, none of the girls will go, she said.
Because of the high cost to travel, Troop 747 is the only one in the Girl Scouts' Central Savannah River Council to attempt to attend any one of the four world centers, council spokeswoman Susan Simmons said.
The girls also have faced adversity. Recently, Deb Kircher, of Martinez, a beloved troop adviser who planned the trip, died unexpectedly, Lea said.
Still, the girls, longtime friends who have scouted together for many years, remain upbeat.
"Whatever we have to do, we'll make it," Moore said.
Those interested in helping the troop can contact the Girl Scouts' Central Savannah River Council at (706) 774-0505.
Photo by J. Scott Trubey
Six of the seven members of Girl Scout Troop 747 point to the site of the World Girl Scout Center in Switzerland. If they can raise the necessary $19,000, they plan to depart May 28. They are: Hannah Lea, (from left) 16, of Martinez; Melanie Aldred, 15, of North Augusta; Kristen Von Plinsky, 17, of Evans; Jennifer Van Duyn, 18, of Martinez; Kristen Moore, 18, of Evans; and Anne Marie Reimsnider, 18, of Martinez. Not pictured is Jessica Aldred, 17, of North Augusta.
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