Girl Scouts, United Way partnership helps program and members

The Nolan County United Way (NCUW) is promoting their yearly campaign with the theme "Give Where You Live".Their commitment to serve local entities is spear-headed by Wendy Smart, the Executive Director of the NCUW. Running solely on pledges, a board of volunteers from the community hope to impact the community with a caring power.To donate to the local United Way, a one-time donation can be given through a payroll deduction or a quarterly basis. Each donation helps thousands of people in the area through nine agencies, who undergo an annual interview process. The agencies must also meet several guidelines to receive funding from the Nolan County United Way. In a year's time, the NCUW will give support on three different occasions to the agencies.The agencies who benefit from the Nolan County United Way are the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, SNAP (Senior Nutrition Activities Program), Cancer Services Network, Gateway Family Services, Sweetwater BackPack Buddies, the West Texas Children's Advocacy Center (WTCAC), the Big Country Medical Reserve Corps, and the Women's Resource Center.With the 2012 goal set at $85,000, the money raised by the NCUW will stay within the county to help the agencies. One of the agencies, the Nolan County Girl Scouts, has seen the ways the local non-profit helps them while they also give back to the United Way."The United Way is one of the Girl Scouts' biggest partners," said troop leader Judy Leighow. "With their generous funding, girls in our area can participate in programs and activities."The local Girl Scouts stay busy all year round with a variety of events, in order to provide girls with leadership experience obtained through the program. Traits like leadership, friendship and teamwork are just some of the attributes taught through the activities that impact the lives of the girls for their entire lifetime.In turn, the Girl Scouts give back to the United Way by assisting with events, like selling tickets at the Rattlesnake Round-Up and working the booth at the Halloween Extravaganza. Each year, they also participate in the local Christmas parade and the 4th of July parade.The community has benefitted from the work of the Girl Scouts, as they recently helped beautify one part of downtown Sweetwater. They painted the "mushroom" at First Financial Bank--now known as the Color Wheel--as well as the surrounding benches on the bank's campus.This year, the Nolan County Girl Scouts also participated in an event in Clyde on February 22. "World Thinking Day", held each year, gave the group a chance to celebrate the global impact of Girl Scouts while learning about other countries.In addition, the girls also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts this year. The Nolan County troop took part in a flash mob at the Mall of Abilene and they also participated in the centennial celebration of "Stand Up and Be Counted," which was a rededication to the Girl Scout Promise.Also part of the celebration, the local troop helped bury a 100th Anniversary time capsule while helping out at the sixtieth anniversary observance of Camp Boothe Oaks. Much activity has taken place at the camp over the past year, as the Girl Scouts hosted several clean-up days, a twilight camp and a Christmas party. Their latest campaign is to raise funds to help restore the swimming pool at Camp Boothe Oaks. Through selling crafts hand-made by the Girl Scout members, they were able to raise around $75 to open an account for the swimming pool fund."These are just some of the things that the Girl Scouts in Nolan County have accomplished this year," Leighow said. "We all look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the coming years."This article is part of a series called "Nolan County United Way: Agency Spotlight". Through a partnership with the NCUW, the Sweetwater Reporter hopes to inform readers about all nine agencies. To learn more about the Nolan County United Way or for opportunities to volunteer, contact Smartt at or by voice mail at 325-235-9522.