Girl Scouts set sights abroad

Five Cadettes, three leaders raising money for August trip to London

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When members of Cadette Girl Scout Troop 142 started to think about their annual trip, they didn't know exactly where they wanted to go, but they had one parameter.

"We wanted to go international," Cadette Rachel Elston, 14, said.

"International was the big thing," Cadette Gina Werremeyer, 14, added.

The South Routt Girl Scouts considered Mexico -- where several Cadettes previously had traveled with their families -- then talked about going to Europe.

That idea almost got tossed out when the girls researched costs of the trip, but December airfare deals made their plans a reality.

Now, five girls and three leaders will take a weeklong trip to England in August.

"It's really cool, because we just read (Shakespeare's) 'Romeo and Juliet' in English," Elston said. "So it will actually give us an opportunity to relate school to this trip."

The girls have traveled as a troop to closer destinations, including Yellowstone National Park, Lake Powell and Moab, Utah. Troop co-leader Tamara Bereznak said the girls' desire to go a little farther didn't surprise her.

"Every year, their travel visions get wider," she said.

As with all of their trips, the girls researched their destination to decide on the "must-see" spots. They've spent hours searching online and poring over travel books given to them by family and friends.

In the coming months, they'll hold fund-raisers to raise the $6,000 needed for the trip. They've planned bake sales and garage sales, they'll work their traditional root beer float stand at the Taste of South Routt in the summer, and, of course, they're selling cookies.

The troop earns 50 cents for each box of cookies sold, and during Presidents Day weekend, the girls will sell extra boxes at Wal-Mart, City Market and Safeway in Steamboat Springs.

The troop also has sent a letter to residents and businesses asking for any support they can provide.

After a dance class last week, the girls met to talk about their plans. Their faces lit up when the conversation turns to what each is most excited about.

The unflinching London palace guards are one source of intrigue.

"If you touch them, they can shoot you," Aila Bereznak, 14, said, and the rest of the girls laughed.

Elston told a story she heard that the guards tap a guilty person, saying, "You've dishonored the queen."

Giggles erupted, but the girls quieted when they got to what they're really excited to see.

Werremeyer said she can't wait to experience a different landscape, as well as the bustle of city life.

Cadette Allie Glawe, 15, said she wants to see Stonehenge. When she was a little girl and first saw photos of the mysterious rocks, she knew she wanted to see the site in person.

"They're rocks in the middle of a field -- big rocks," Glawe said. "It's kind of amazing."

Cadette Jamie Glawe, 13, said she likes architecture so wants to study the historic buildings.

Traveling as a troop means more chances to learn about where they're traveling, the Cadettes said.

It also means more time with good friends.

Many of the girls joined the troop nine years ago, getting involved because it was "something to do after school," Werremeyer said.

Because of the troop's small size, the girls have become good friends.

At their meetings, the teens get to catch up with each other, discuss their travel plans and plan their next community service projects, which include a highway cleanup, a food drive and helping with events such as an Elementary Literacy Fair and the school Halloween Carnival.

During spring, the girls clean up a two-mile section of Colorado Highway 131 south of Oak Creek that they've adopted.

As they pick up trash, they make up stories about what they find, guessing who last held a piece of rope, who tossed a can of beans out the window, or whose tire blew along the way.

The motto of Girl Scouts, Tamara Bereznak said, is "Where girls grow strong."

Over the years, Tamara Bereznak has watched the girls do just that.

"I wouldn't even dream of taking a bunch of girls that weren't as driven and focused and well-behaved as this group of girls is," she said. "I just know they'll get so much out of it."

In the meantime, the girls are sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for Aug. 4.

"We have to keep on telling each other that it's, like, eight months," Werremeyer said.

For more information on the Girl Scouts, or to support the troop's London trip, call leaders Tamara Bereznak at 736-2513 or Jean Werremeyer at 638-0495, or mail a donation to the Cadette Girl Scout Troop 142, P.O. Box 51, Oak Creek, CO 80467.

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