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Better than Thin Mints: Girl Scouts visit City Hall
“I wonder what it would be like to go to court?” Clare McKenna, 9, said Nov. 12 while on a Girl Scouts field trip.
Fourth-graders from Girl Scouts of America Troop 1685, Federal Way and Auburn, learned a first-hand civics lessons when they visited City Hall, the police station and the municipal court. There, they met some of Federal Way’s lawmakers and enforcers, and asked questions about how a city operates. The visit was part of the Scouts’ requirements to earn a Model Citizen badge.
“It’s so important for them to get to know they are a part of their neighborhood and their community,” troop leader Marcia Ducusin said.
Learning how to have a voice in government policies and decisions is also essential, she said. Ducusin’s daughter, Helena, 9, even followed the presidential race this year. Visiting City Hall introduced the girls to politics at a local level.
Several of the girls ages 8 to 10 found the Federal Way Municipal Court to be the most captivating part of the tour. Presiding Judge Michael Morgan showed the group around the courthouse. The empty holding cells and gavel caught the girls’ attention. They giggled loudly as they took turns peering into the cells and striking the gavel.
“I’ve always wanted to see a holding cell; I don’t know why,” said Madalyn Landreth, 9.
For the girls, meeting Mayor Jack Dovey and city council member Jeanne Burbidge was another highlight along their trip. The council members fielded questions from the girls about what responsibilities the members hold. Questions inquired about whether the city votes for its mayor, the population of Federal Way, the types of decisions council members make, the city council’s goals and the number of city employees. Dovey and Burbidge both gave the Scouts a business card.
“I loved meeting the mayor,” Clare said.
At the police station, the Girl Scouts took turns recalling a time when their family members had to call for police help. Waiting times, call priorities and the Valley Communications 911 Center were discussed.
In the coming week, the Scouts will participate in a variety of activities meant to foster relationships with their neighbors, teach them how to voice their opinions on government matters, educate them on being part of a solution to a social or environmental problem, and remind them of the importance of freedom and the American flag, among other things. The deeds will earn the girls a Model Citizen badge to be displayed proudly on their Junior Girl Scouts uniform.
“I’m really impressed that my daughter and the girls in her troop are interested in what’s going on in the world,” Ducusin said. “When I was in fourth grade, I didn’t care about that stuff, but they were interested.”
Contact Jacinda Howard: firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565.