Koerte goes it alone

LIHUE — Kyla Koerte said she’s traveled to distances longer than going to Ohio, but never alone.

Koerte left Kauai Tuesday night bound for Columbus, Ohio — just one of two Girl Scouts from Hawaii to be a member of the Convention 2017 Girl Planning Team.

The team is made up of 20 girls from across the country, including Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors from 17 councils.

Koerte, a Senior from Girl Scout Troop 823, recently bridged to Ambassador.

“For the first time, Girl Scouts has put together a movement-wide team of girls to help plan our convention,” said Emily Henehan, a travel and outdoor program specialist with the Girl Scouts of the USA. “The girls will meet virtually every month for the next 18 months, and will meet three times in person, the first time in Ohio, in New York next summer, and finally, at Convention 2017. The team will lead the planning and execution of Convention programming and activities designed for girls. They will be integral to bringing the girl voice to all aspects of the overall convention.”

Criteria for being considered included being a ninth- or to 10th-grade student, tech savy, willing to travel independently, and one who doesn’t get nominated for these kinds of opportunities often, if at all, said Teresa Caires, Troop 823 co-leader.

“We had a hard time settling on Kyla,” Caires said. “But a lot of the girls had earned awards so we decided we would see if Kyla was interested. She had to apply for the position.”

Koerte said she was surprised to learn she was selected.

“We found out through email,” she said. “I was in Spanish class when Mrs. Caires texted me the news. I started freaking out in class and the teacher wanted to know what was going on.”

Koerte said she’s actually met the other 20 girls because they’ve been getting together every three weeks through Virtual Google Facetime since May.

“I’m excited about meeting them in person,” the new Girl Scout Ambassador said. “We get to help design the experience for older Girl Scouts at Convention and provide input and feedback on areas such as activities, panel discussions, discussion sessions, special events, marketing Convention, and more. I’m really excited because we get to do a high ropes course and there is a water park.”

Delcey Garma, Kyla’s mother and co-leader of Troop 823, said the troop is already talking of trying to attend Convention 2017.

“I’m so proud of her,” Garma said. “I just can’t wait to have her come back with information to give to our Hawaii Girl Scouts.”

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