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Role of Girl Scouts at Old Cowtown Museum is evolving

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, at 9:50 p.m.

The Girl Scout program at Old Cowtown Museum is changing.

Although the girls will still dress up in period costumes, it will be for special events. Activities and educational classes will be geared more for girls in the 21st century.

According to Cowtown director David Flask, the numbers of Girl Scouts participating in events on the grounds dwindled significantly last summer compared to 2011.

“It was limiting to those who wanted to participate and whose families could afford it both in cost and time,” Flask said. “The educational programs will now be geared more toward them. They will come in school dress and don’t have to dress up. The staff will meet them and take them through the program.”

Girl Scouts will still be at Old Cowtown Museum, only participating in different ways.

“We will continue to have opportunities for our girls to learn about the lifestyle of the 1870s, dress in costume and participate in special events, such as Fall Fair and Victorian Christmas,” wrote Muriel Berry, director of communications for the Girl Scouts, in an e-mail to The Eagle.

But the emphasis and activities are shifting from being presented by Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland staff to being developed and delivered by Cowtown staff.

For nearly 55 years, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland has been an integral part of the living history museum’s interpretive atmosphere. During the summers, Girl Scouts fulfilling historic projects dressed in period costumes and filled the streets and inhabited the historic buildings, helping show visitors what 1870s Wichita was like.

That’s all changing, or, as Girl Scout leaders like to say, evolving.

The program emphasis has changed at the museum, Flask said, in order to meet the changing needs of a newer generation.

The Girl Scouts are planning a 55th anniversary reunion with Cowtown on May 5, 2013.

“Throughout five decades, the Girl Scout relationship with Cowtown has evolved from one of service, to demonstrations, to camp, and now to education,” Berry said.

Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland has more than 17,000 girls and adults participating in 80 Kansas counties through its operational headquarters in Wichita and regional offices in Emporia, Garden City, Hays and Salina.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com

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