In final year together, girls in Troop 1482 raise funds for last trip

— Photo from Tami Hanley
Friends since their youth, the girls in Troop 1482 have been together since childhood.

KNOX — A group of rising seniors, many of whom have known each other since first grade or earlier at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, are raising money for one final trip they will take as a Girl Scout troop next year before graduation.

Troop 1482 is made up of Taryn Hanley, Paige Brown, Caitlyn Hall, Jordan Latter, and Emily Purcell. They are all 16 years old and will be seniors at BKW next year. Next spring or summer, they hope to travel to the islands of Turks and Caicos, a British Overseas Territory southeast of the Bahamas.

The girls heard about the islands from a friend who went on a cruise there and then set their sights on that. They hope to scuba diva, ride horses, and swim with pigs in a nearby bay — a place made famous on social media.

On a Saturday morning in June, Taryn, Paige, and Caitlyn — Jordan and Emily were absent — had gathered along with parents and troop leaders to begin planning.

To fund the trip, Troop 1482 is collecting new or gently-worn shoes to be delivered to the organization Funds2Orgs, which pays for collected shoes that are then sent to developing nations.

Taryn said that Troop 1482 began as a different troop when the girls were in first grade before it was broken up, but most of the girls already were friends when it was formed. They have since traveled together, done projects to get their badges together, and in general have had fun together.

Camping trips to places like Lake George, Lake Placid, or Thompsons Lake led them to staying up all night together and undercook their food. The girls argued over whether or not a 16-hour trip to Virginia Beach had been fun or not.

“That trip was awful,” said Taryn.

“But it was hilarious,” said Paige.

“We fought the entire trip,” said Taryn.

“We weathered the storm,” chided Tami Hanley, Taryn’s mother and the troop leader.

The troop members earned their badges coaching soccer in the backyard and sewing quilts together. Caitlyn said she has enjoyed helping at the pancake breakfast at the local Masonic lodge every year during Maple Fest.

Jordan had originally been in a different troop but joined Troop 1482 when she was in middle school. She told The Enterprise on Friday that she has had trouble making friends in the past, but the support of the other girls, particularly Caitlyn and Emily, helped her with her social anxiety.

“It helped me gain confidence,” she said, of joining the troop.

Her interests in things like video games are not necessarily the same as the other girls, she said, but she has enjoyed their shared experiences, recalling a water-balloon fight.

Some people believe a girl isn’t a Girl Scout unless she has been a part of each grade level or obtained each badge, said Jordan. She disagrees.

“I think, as long as you’re there and you’re having fun, you’re a Girl Scout,” she said.

In their final year as Girl Scouts, each of the girls will be working to earn the Gold Award, which is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, similar to an Eagle Scout rank for Boy Scouts. Tof earn the Gold Award, a girl must complete an individual project that addresses a certain issue.

Caitlyn, for example, is exploring how to provide feminine-hygiene products at places where they may not be available such as at homeless shelters. Taryn is preparing “birthday boxes” that contain supplies for a party for students in the school’s Backpack program, which provides food for families on weekends.

Paige knit “drill buddies,” or stuffed animals to comfort pre-kindergarten students during a school fire or lockdown drill.

Each girl has different aspirations after high school: Taryn wants to study early childhood education, Jordan plans to go into video-game design, Paige is interested in architecture or a science field, and Caitlyn is undecided.

Taryn doubts that they will lose contact with one another after high school.

“We’re kind of inseparable,” she said.

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