‘Very Passionate’

Ripley Girl Scouts Overcome Stereotypes

Six members of Ripley Girl Scout troop 20089 present a skit about stereotyping at the regular meeting of the Board of Education Photos by David Prenatt

RIPLEY — Members of Ripley Girl Scout Troop 20089 aren’t going to put up with stereotypes or bullying.

Six members of the troop attended the October meeting of Ripley Central School District’s board of education and presented an original skit on overcoming stereotypes.

“They came up with it all on their own,” said co-leader Victoria Carris. “They wanted to add in the bullying aspect because they said ‘sometimes bulling goes with stereotypes.’ We hadn’t thought of that.”

In the skit, Girl Scouts Adriannah Cettell, Addison Chess, Emma Morin, Gabriella Orton, Jonsy Roblero and Sophia Simpson depicted a scene where three girls began criticizing another girl who was dressed in what they considered to be boy clothes. The three girls involved in the bullying said girls should wear “girl colors,” makeup and long hair. The actually pushed the girl with the boyish clothes and baseball cap, causing her to fall on the floor. The other two girls defended the girl with the boyish clothes, and declared, “She’s beautiful, just the way she is.”

Carris said the skit was part of a Girl Scout “journey.” She said the girls practiced the skit once a week for about a month, and each time the dialog kept changing.

Members of Ripley Board of Education were treated to a special visit from Girl Scout Troop 20089 at their regular meeting on Oct. 12.

“The girls are very passionate about avoiding stereotypes,” she added.

At the end of the school board meeting, the girls sat in on an executive session of the board. This was part of earning their inside government badge, Carris said. The badge requires that the scouts decide what being an active citizen means; go to a government situation; understand laws; and be active in government process.

“They had no idea what an executive session was,” Carris said.

During the session, board president Paul McCutcheon explained to the girls that some things need to be kept private, Carris said.

In the next part of the journey, Carris said, the girls will speak with adult females who have “shattered the glass ceiling, so to speak,” that is, women who have moved into traditional male roles.

Carris said the group will be inviting Karen Kraus, former Ripley superintendent, to come and speak. Kraus grew up in Ripley, taught at Ripley and eventually came to lead the district.

Throughout the spring and summer, Carris said, the girls were meeting remotely. They started meeting in person on September 10, the first Thursday after school began.

“We talked to all of the parents to make sure they were okay with it. They thought it would be wonderful,” she said.

However, the COVID pandemic is still very relevant, Carris said. The girls meet in the fifth grade classroom of the school. They wear masks and maintain social distance, she said.

Some aspects of this are very difficult for the girls, Carris said. Recently, two of the girls, Chess and Orton, bridged from Brownies to Junior.

“When the two girls bridged, the others wanted to hug them, but they couldn’t,” Carris said. “It’s very hard for them because they want that social connection.”

Carris said the girls try to overcome this through a self-hug.

“We have to hug ourselves. We will say, ‘okay, let’s give each other a big hug,’ and then we wrap our arms around ourselves and hug, but there’s something missing,” she said.

Another problem, Carris said, has to do with sharing things at the meetings. She explained that each girl has her own bin of supplies, and sharing is not permitted.

“One girl might say, ‘Oh, I need a pencil,’ and it’s so natural for another girl to say, ‘here’s one,’ but we can’t do that,” she said. “It kind of flies in the face of being giving.”


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