Hands-on scouting: Area Girl Scouts explore the arts

Posted: Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Creativity, in all of its forms, has such a comprehensive impact on the lives of young people, and wanting to nurture the artistic interest of youngsters the Girls Scouts of Alaska, in conjunction with Chevron, held a "Women of the Arts" event Saturday in Soldotna.

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Tres Faucher works on a soft pastel drawing Saturday during the Women of the Arts Girl Scouts conference at Soldotna High School. Youngsters were exposed to the visual arts as well as to music and dance.

"It's a hands-on activity for the kids to give them exposure to the arts, as well as exposure to women in leadership roles who are passionate about what they do," said Joyce Cox, Girl Scouts Membership Development Manager.

More than 100 Girl Scouts, ranging in age from kindergarteners through high school students, took part in the event. They moved through three separate stations: visual arts, dance and music.

"The girls went to 'Women of Science' last year and really had a good time," said Brenda Trefon, leader of Brownie Troop 325. "So they've been excited all year about this event, and it's good for them to see what job options they could have in the future."

In the visuals arts section the girls learned about color theory techniques and pastels. With finger tips with as much color as their construction paper, the girls enjoyed coloring hearts and other shapes with chalk.

In the dance station, the instructors connected to the girls about the rising popularity of dancing by using television shows they would be familiar with, such as "Dancing with the Stars" and "America's Best Dance Crew." Then they gave instruction on numerous dance moves, from basic ballet movements, to how to keep to the rhythm of the beat when hip-hop dancing.

In the music class the girls put several skills together by singing, clapping to the beat and playing various instruments.

"This is really hands-on," said Mickey Sopkowiak, leader of Brownie Troop 95. "They're really involved in this. They got to play the triangle, tambourine, hand drums, maracas and shakers and scratchers."

Sopkowiak said the music course was easy for the girls to pick up quickly, since it mirrored concepts they might have gotten outside of scouting.

"It's paralleling a lot of what they would have done in music class at school," she said.

Elaine Larson, the music instructor for the scouting event, has been professionally teaching music to children for more than 30 years, and currently teaches at Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science in Kenai. She said the emphasis of the one-day event was slightly different than what she would teach in school.

"When you see them week after week in school, you're building concepts, but today I just wanted them to enjoy themselves by singing, dancing and having fun," she said.

After the music session, the children rallied together to head to the next station, but one little girl bestowed on Larson a gift of gratitude: several boxes of Girl Scout cookies. She was moved by the gesture.

"It's a lovely event," she said, "And how can you argue about getting Girl Scout Cookies?"

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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