New Girl Scout patch celebrates city's centennial celebrity

Three Enterprise Girl Scouts from Service Unit 923 recently earned the Boll Weevil Monument Patch. Seated are Girl Scouts Emma DeTora, left, and Kendall DeTora. Standing, from left, are Girl Scout Volunteer Sandra DeTora and Girl Scout Makayla Johnson.

Discover the history of Enterprise.

Learn the history of the Boll Weevil’s impact on the economy of Enterprise and the reason for the monument in the center of Main Street named in its honor.

Those are just some of the things that Girl Scouts of all ages learn as they complete the activities required to earn the new Enterprise Boll Weevil Monument Patch.

Requirements to earn the circular patch featuring the silhouette of the renowned Lady in White holding a Boll Weevil above her head were the brain child of Corey Conner who created it as the state prepares for its bicentennial and the City of Progress prepares for the 100th birthday of the landmark in the middle of Main Street.

Conner is the Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Community Engagement Specialist and said the patch was a natural fit for a community zone patch which enables Girl Scouts to learn more about the history of the region in which they live. “Both our Alabama Council—Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama—currently have a joint patch program for the Alabama bicentennial,” Conner explained. “So after thinking about the upcoming Boll Weevil centennial celebration, I began thinking about what we could do to educate our Girl Scouts on the history in their ‘back yards’ but make it a fun activity.

“With the help and encouragement of (Service Unit 923 Girl Scout Leader) Lisa Beebe and (City of Enterprise Tourism Director) Tammy Doerer, the patch program was born,” Conner said.

For three “born-and-raised-in-Enterprise” Girl Scouts from Service Unit 923 earning the Boll Weevil Monument Patch was just a matter of review.

Makayla Johnson, 14, Kendall DeTora, 15, and Emma DeTora, 13, have been in Girl Scouting since they were five years old. When their former Girl Scout Troop disbanded, the trio opted to continue on as Juliettes, independent Girl Scouts who are not part of a formal Girl Scout Troop.

Because all are members of Green Hill Presbyterian Church in Enterprise, they are the self-proclaimed “Greenhill Juliettes,” Girl Scout Adult Volunteer Sandra DeTora said.

The Boll Weevil Monument patch is a patch, not a badge, Sandra DeTora explained. “Badges are earned when a girl completes certain requirements. Patches usually have suggested activities for girls to complete and are generally themed to a special event or local interest.

“Working on the activities for the Boll Weevil Monument patch was a lot of fun,” Sandra DeTora said. “We made a day trip around town visiting historical landmarks.

“I think my favorite part was researching the facts about the monument and about the city of Enterprise,” the scout adult volunteer said. “We made a game out of it. I gave the girls each question one at a time and then they raced against each other to see who could find the answers the fastest. 

“I was shocked at how many questions they were able to answer correctly without looking anything up,” Sandra DeTora said with a smile.

What Sandra DeTora loves to say about her three Girl Scouts is that they “balance” each other. “It’s interesting to me to see how all of their skills come together,” she said.

All three girls have earned the Girl Scout Silver Award and Girl Scout Bronze Award, the 2nd and 3rd highest awards in Girl Scouting, respectively. 

The Bronze Award is a 20-hour project that is usually worked on by a troop. “The girls need to find a problem in the community and try and solve it,” Sandra DeTora explained. To earn their Bronze Award, Johnson and Kendall DeTora’s worked to heighten public awareness of the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary. “Their lofty goal was to say that they wanted every single person in Enterprise to know about the sanctuary,” Sandra DeTora said. Emma DeTora’s Bronze Award project was also with the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary where she helped publicize and run a fundraiser.

The trio worked on the Silver Award together. The goal of the project was to promote the use of Whisper Phones, an idea inspired by Johnson’s younger brother who had been diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder.

Whisper Phones work by amplifying the reader’s voice and directing the sounds to their ears and the girls made 600 whisper phones which were given to every kindergartener in the Enterprise City Schools.

“The Silver Award was my all time favorite,” Johnson said. Sandra DeTora agreed. “That is true,” she said. “The girls were coming home after their Bronze Award and they said they figured out what they wanted to do and that was to provide a Whisper Phone for every kindergartener in the city of Enterprise. That was their goal.”

“They call it the ‘Girl Scout Leadership Experience,’ because we are building leaders,” Sandra DeTora said.

Johnson agreed. “I enjoy Girl Scouts because it is an extra curricular activity that teaches responsibility and skills,” the Enterprise High School freshman said. “It changes you. I have learned more about responsibilities and life skills.

“I play basketball too,” she added with a smile. “That’s my whole schedule: Girl Scouts, basketball and my grades.”

Johnson said she knew a lot about the Boll Weevil Monument and its significance prior to studying about it in Alabama History in elementary school thanks to her grandmother and veteran educator Pat Johnson. “The summer before I go into a grade, my grandma will teach me everything that I am going to need to know going into that grade,” she said with a smile.

One fact that she did learn new was that the monument was a just a fountain before the evil weevil was added some 30 years later. “It was a creative idea,” the Senior Scout said.

“The Boll Weevil Monument was always the center of everything,” said Cadette Scout and Coppinville Junior High School student Emma DeTora. “Literally, the center.”

Senior Scout and Enterprise High School student Kendall DeTora said she hadn’t realized that the Boll Weevil started its journey in Mexico.

“The Boll Weevil Centennial Celebration is approaching and we wanted Girl Scouts to be able to celebrate the rich history behind it,” said Meghan Cochrane, Director of Marketing and Communications for Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama which serves more than 5,000 girls and 2,500 adult volunteers in 30 counties.

“Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama encourages girls to discover the world around them, connect with their communities and take action when necessary,” Cochrane said. “This patch program does just that.

“Each and every girl will have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Boll Weevil and its impact on Enterprise and Alabama history,” Cochrane said. “Our goal is to encourage girls from outside the area to learn more about this historical marker and its significance.

“The most important part about the patch program is the ‘Take Action’ piece which is a requirement that the girls continue to share their experience and history of Enterprise with others,” Cochrane added. “We will also encourage them to provide volunteer hours to the city as needed.”

(1) comment

Sandra DeTora

Way to go Girl Scouts! [smile]

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