A rush of excitement keeps girl scouts happy

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on February 02, 2011 with No Comments

by Mike Siroky

Their shrieks of delight pierced the calm of the Portage Township YMCA Saturday morning. Seven troops of Girl Scouts were invited to the YMCA to experience a day of physical activity.
Physical activity is as loud as it is fun, apparently.
It started with endline-to-endline tag on a basketball court, wherein the designated ìitî girl stands at the nearest free-throw line and calls out a color. Anyone with that color clothing has to make it from one endline to the far endline without getting tagged.
Skills develop quickly as do strategies like either start fast or let someone else attract attention then head down a sideline.
Once tagged, she joins the others as tagees. And so it went until all were either tagged or there was one survivor. It was several sessions long.
That was followed by several hearty rounds of dodge ball, the object to hit and eliminate other competitors with a Nerf-like sphere.
More strategizing developed as duos quickly worked together on other eliminations and some participants let the other throwers unload first, then pounced on unarmed prey.
Still on the agenda were plenty of other events, including gymnastics and a finale of yoga or the popular Zumba dance workout that is set to Latin rhythms.
Scout leader ñ and happy mother ñ Shannon Kolosci coordinated the event.
ìIt went very, very well,î she said. ìIn gymnastics, all the girls were given the opportunity to try all the different gymnastic (disciplines), beam and floor and all the others.î
She said the YMCA staff went above and beyond expectations.
ìThey had four girls there to really show how to do the different events,î Kolosci said.
ìThey didnít have to do that. They had planned what they were going to demonstrate and what they were going to say.î
And that is what this day was all about ñ giving the elementary-age participants a chance to try and experience things they normally might miss.
ìI had several of them say they would have never otherwise attempted those things or even thought about doing them before today,î Kolosci said.
Her own daughter, Zoe, said the workout made her tired, but a good tired.
Troop 325 is associated with Nativity Christian School. Physical activities joins hands with service projects and the famous national cookie sale, under way through March 20.
Kolosci said her troop is part of a resurgence of scouting, with a lot of parental help and fun focused on the girls.
The troop goes on campouts and meets weekly as they progress through the scouting levels. Local Indiana troops are now melded into a bigger group, which includes some Chicagoland area troops.
But that association also helps bring in big-city culture events, like treks to museums.
ìWe try to have events to get the girls together citywide,î Kolosci said. ìThis was to try to do something sports-oriented in the wintertime and the YMCA was excited to help us out. It was very high energy.î
Ryan Penrod is senior program director for the Portage YMCA. Despite the fact he tweaked an ankle playing basketball, he was present on crutches to help oversee the Girl Scoutsí delightful activity day.
Penrod sees this as another way the YMCA can help develop a sense of well-being for its youngest participants.
He also mentioned the YMCA reaches out in other ways to area young people, such as hosting a weekly session of physical education for area home-schooled children.
For more information on the Portage Township YMCA, 3100 Willowcreek Road, call 219-762-9622, or visit www.ymcaofportage.org.
For more information on Troop 325ís Girl Scout Cookies sale, call Nativity Christian School at219-762-4858.

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About Mike Siroky

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the chronicleNWI.com

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