The Public Safety Project Award this year is presented to the Girl Scouts Troop 60-Columbia River Council Oregon for their local program to serve girls whose mothers are involved in the criminal justice system. The program, which utilized a nationally-recognized template, is called Girl Scouts Beyond Bars.
From a core group of just seven girls and five mothers in 1998, the Columbia River Council Girl Scout Troop 60 has grown to serve about 80 girls and 65 women in both the minimum and medium security areas of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility inWilsonville,Oregon. Through a partnership with the Girl Scouts of Santiam Council inSalem,Oregon, nearly 30 additional girls are being included in this popular relationship-building opportunity. Troop 60 meets twice monthly at Coffee Creek where girls and their mothers, who serve as troop leaders, engage in traditional Girl Scout activities and games. Children whose mothers have been released or whose privileges have been revoked while still incarcerated continue to meet with the group that regularly visits Coffee Creek in other community locations.
According to the Girl Scouts-Columbia River Council, women who participate in the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program report that visitations from their daughters increased 76% after joining the program and over half report that they didn’t see their daughters at all until they joined the Girl Scouts.
GirlScouts-ColumbiaRiverCouncil provides full support for Troop 60 to ensure that any eligible girl is able to participate. From door to door transportation to books, camping and other special Girl Scout opportunities, all interested girls receive the encouragement needed to develop their full potential and achieve their personal goals.