Along the Scouting Trails

Senior Girl Scouts Amanda Gartside, Remy deBrauwere, Abigail Chang and Jessica Pih demonstrated their love of reading for their Girl Scout Gold Awards at New Horizons in July.

New Horizons Family Center, serving the children of South Glendale, had the opportunity to appreciate reading through different mediums.

The mission of New Horizons Family Center is to foster the healthy development of children and families with the goals of child abuse prevention, school readiness, personal-social effectiveness, child mental health and positive family relationships.

Each day the children traveled between Gartside's music, deBrauwere's art, Chang's cooking and Pih's drama/games to hopefully foster a new found love of reading. The clinic concluded with a presentation for the parents showcasing the work completed and the skills learned throughout the week. In addition to the Reading Clinic, the scouts also collected more than 500 children's books from the local community and donated them to New Horizons to further emphasize the importance of reading.

Gartside's Gold Award Project was titled "If Music Be the Fruit of Literature." Each day the children participated in singing, musical games and a writing/reading activity. The children had the opportunity to learn about and try out many types of musical instruments including a drum, saxophone, violin, flute and piano. In addition, the children discussed how music and reading/stories relate to each other. The rest of the week consisted of notes, rhythm, singing technique, dynamics, context and performance behavior. in the final presentation, the children sang "Rock-in' in the Boat," which they had learned and applied their techniques to throughout the course of the week. The children reached Amanda's goal of understanding that music is for everyone.

Chang bridged reading with something all children love, food! She combined knowledge of the new food pyramid with simple, healthy snacks. Each day, the children focused on one food category from the pyramid (excluding fats and oils) They read and analyzed nutrition labels and discussed facts about serving sizes, fats, and carbohydrates. Then, they enjoyed preparing a snack incorporating the food group of that day. For example, on Thursday, the theme was dairy products. After looking at food labels of plain yogurt and discussing its nutritional values, they made and enjoyed their own fruit parfait. Other days' treats included turkey and tomato sandwiches, fruit kabobs, wheat pita bread with hummus and peanut butter dips, and a variety of vegetables with low-fat ranch dressing. On the last day of the reading clinic, all the children and volunteers were treated to a sampling of pot-stickers.

Pih integrated reading with a variety of interactive and recreational activities. Each day the children read a short children's book, participated in games, performed in front of a video camera and completed a writing activity. The children were able to express themselves through poetry, skits, short stories, rhymes and riddles. After reading and writing, the children enjoyed the daily endeavors related to the reading activity. They participated in friendly competitions including volleyball, a ring toss, charades, basketball, "steal the bacon," gymnastics, a balloon toss and several relay races. During the entire week of drama, games and fun, the children were videotaped, creating a stiffing and inspiring documentary. For the final presentation there was a special viewing of the video. By the end of the Reading Clinic, the children were thrilled to be "on television" and more excited to read than ever.

DeBrauwere used arts and crafts to develop and encourage a lifelong love of reading. Throughout the week, she presented different art projects that all, in some way promoted reading or writing skills. "Age appropriate" crafts assured that the children did not work on a craft that was too juvenile or beyond their capabilities. By the end of the session, all age groups had enjoyed making giant knotted reading pillows and assembling clay characters. The younger children also made fun foam visor nametags and decorated flexible snake bookmarks with sequins and puffy paints. The older children completed more complex crafts that augmented the children's reading and writing abilities. They created "About Me" books in which the children were able to share information about themselves and also illustrate pictures. They also wrote and decorated acrostic poems and painted scenery supporting the music and games portions of the week-long clinic. By being presented with the opportunity to work with a variety of different art mediums, the scouts said all of the children were able to gain a new found love of reading and writing through arts and crafts.

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