Since kindergarten, Girl Scouting has been a part of my life. From Daisies to Brownies, Juniors to Cadettes, and finally Seniors, Girl Scouting has taken many different forms for me. Being a Daisy Girl Scout, I got to meet a group of friends. Over the years my troop number changed, and along with that my group of friends, and, ultimately, we became the solid six we are today--Troop 8337, or as we like to say the "inseparable six."

These friends I gained are worth being in Girl Scouts. We plan trips together, such as the last Girl Scout trip this summer, and normal outings like the movies. Amy Jamadar, Bridgette Ainsworth, Gemma Davey, MargE Bhola, and Tori Norrell--I love them very much, and know we will keep in contact over the years, whether they would like to or not.

Girl Scouting has also shown me that I love to help my community. The six of us have painted power boxes around Scripps Ranch, volunteered at Alvarado Hospital, and loaded Girl Scout cookies into various troops' cars for several years. We've learned that helping the community is a lot of fun. I know that all six us of, throughout our lives, will volunteer in any way we can.

Though Girl Scouting is popular in elementary school, the number of girls who stay involved dwindles over the years. I would like to ask these girls to stick with Girl Scouts; be the one who is different. I know a major reason I turned out the way I am today is because of what this organization has taught me.

All six of us have earned our Silver Award. Two of us have earned, or are in the process of earning, our Gold Award--the most difficult and prestigious award in Girl Scouting. Plus, we are all heading to college next fall.

The six of us felt the pressures of middle school and high school saying that Scouting wasn't "cool," but after those few years, no one cares. Those same people who gave us a hard time want to buy cookies from us years later. A common thing our peers say to us is that they wish they stuck with Scouts. You just have to be the strong one who gets through that rough period of being different.

If you stand up for something you believe in, such as being in Girl Scouts, your confidence grows and makes you better able to stand up for everything else you believe in throughout life. Don't give in to the peer pressure in high school. It's okay to be different.

I know that all of us would like to say "thank you" to our leader who has stuck with us--a bunch of loud teenage girls--throughout the years. Thank you, Sharon Ainsworth, for always finding the time to let us meet at your house and for giving us your pearls of wisdom.

Let this also be a thank you to all Girl Scout leaders. I never understood how difficult young girls could be until now, when I'm a high school senior. Good timing, I know. Thank you for sticking with the program that helps girls develop into the person they choose to be.

So you girls out there, Girl Scouts is what you make it, as are many things in life. If you still don't like Scouts, at least get from this article that although standing up for what you believe in is difficult at this age, it is necessary and makes you a better person. Girl Scouting has shown me what I am good at, what I love, and given me lifelong friends. Think of what you would miss out on.

Jenna Kieckhaefer, Senior Girl Scout