LIHUE — Four Girl Scouts and two of their leaders from Girl Scout Troop 2150 discovered the world of Girl Scouts hostelling, said Shereen Ho‘opi‘i, Kauai Girl Scout membership and program service coordinator.
Ho‘opi‘i was at the Lihue Airport to welcome home the travelers to San Francisco where they performed service projects while exploring new places.
“I always knew I wanted to go to the mainland with these girls,” said Ray Gampon, troop leader. “We stayed at two different hostels in San Francisco. It was an awesome experience, and everyone, including leaders, grew because of it.”
Ho‘opi‘i said the troop planned to stay with Girl Scout clubs, but because one of the troop’s members was 18 years old, the troop was ineligible to participate in that program.
Using some of the proceeds from the sale of Girl Scout cookies, the troop discovered the hostelling program and after securing some good travel fares, committed to the week’s stay in the San Francisco area. Each scout was responsible for coming up with the roundtrip airfare.
“This was really good for the girls,” Gampon said. “They got to see the city and its lights, and after going to Marin Headlands, got to experience the country and coastline.”
The travelers approached the experience with apprehension.
“Every one was worried about something,” Ray said. “This experience pushed them out of their comfort zone. Like night hiking? Someone worried about what kind of wild animals were out there. But the girls met every concern head-on and overcame their fears.”
At the hostels, the girls had to do chores before being released.
“At one of the hostels, they had to rinse their dishes after meals, but at the other hostel, they needed to rinse, wash, and sanitize the dishes,” Ray said. “The girls were talking about sharing a knife so they wouldn’t have to wash them afterwards. But they learned how there was emphasis on recycling almost everything that was used.”
The troop received items from the Kauai Visitors Bureau to distribute along their journey. Ray said they couldn’t just give them away, but instead, needed to engage with the recipients.
“There was a guy named Bob on one of the street cars,” Ray said. “He really wanted a Kauai keychain, but the girls didn’t have any. The next day, we saw him on the street car, again, and gave him one of the keychains.”
Service projects were not out of the picture, either. One day, they pruned at a nursery and on another, they served 679 breakfasts at a church.
“Amazingly, there were no children,” Isabel said. “There were dogs with adults, though. And you could come back for more — you simply went to the back of the line.”