On March 5, 56 girls and 30 adults from four different coastal islands got together for an overnight at the Pen Bay YMCA. The original thought of getting just island girls together was generated during a Brownie Troop meeting. Islesboro’s Troop #593 has 13 girls ages 5-9, all interested in meeting girls from other islands. Troop leader Beth Howell began planning this event in November 2004. The first task was trying to find islands that have year-round populations with registered Girl Scout Troops. With the help of both Abnaki Girl Scout Council in Brewer and Kennebec Girl Scout Council in South Portland five islands were identified: Islesboro, Vinalhaven, North Haven, Peaks and Swan’s. Leaders were contacted by phone, and the creative efforts began to come together.

Islesboro has an Island Institute Fellow from the Island Institute, Allyson Mayo, who provided support and guidance for the project to get some financial backing. The Island Community Fund through the Island Institute provided a grant to support transportation for the event. Dana Leath, community development officer at the Institute, provided an application and guidance to access these funds.

Each group of girls was asked to produce a map of their island along with photographs of their favorite places on their island. In most cases the older girls made the map and the younger scouts provided the photos. The girls were able to share the uniqueness of their troop, their island, their school, and their ferry.

The girls were from Brownie Troops and Junior Troops, covering Kindergarten though grade 8. Girls participated in arts and crafts (provided by all attending troops), a Pizza Party, rock climbing and of course swimming. The best part of the event was making new friends, and finding out about the similarities that we all have in common.

Special Thanks to other troop leaders: Dianne Ricciotti from Peaks Island, who brought the girls and moms from Junior Troop #1977; Julie Shane from Vinalhaven who helped coordinate Brownie Troop #700 and Junior Troop #1823; Elaine Ames-Brown from North Haven, who brought Brownie Troop #1834 and Betty Boucher from Islesboro who brought Junior Troop #685. And an extra thank you to my Brownie girls from Troop #593, who sometimes lead me!