Local Girl Scout troops “Scout the Vote” with candidatesMai Nguyen Do October 16, 2018 0 COMMENTS
Over 65 Girl Scouts from Santa Clarita gathered at Northpark Elementary School with local candidates to learn about civic engagement, government and running for office on Friday, Oct. 12.
The “Girl Scout the Vote” event was organized by Girl Scout Troop 1122 leaders, who invited local candidates and elected officials to attend the event. The troop leaders had hoped the event would be bipartisan, but Congressman Steve Knight, Assemblyman Dante Acosta and the Santa Clarita Young Republicans did not respond to invitations.
To kick off the event, 38th Assembly District candidate Christy Smith spoke to the crowd of Scouts and encouraged them to stay civically engaged.
“Starting where you are now, diligently earning your badges and supporting your community, being a good community helper … all of those things make for a great background to someday do this kind of job,” Smith said. “I want to encourage you all to make the most of tonight, learn everything you can.”
After Smith’s speech, the Scouts rotated between workshop stations staffed by parents, troop leaders, candidates and elected officials. At the various stations, Scouts wrote postcards to urge adults to vote, made signs about issues they felt were important and learned about American government.
At one station, Saugus Union School District Board President Chris Trunkey taught the Scouts about California’s famous parks and landmarks. At another, West Ranch High School history teacher Laura Arrowsmith, who is running for Saugus Union School Board in Trustee Area 2, guided Girl Scouts through the levels of leadership, from parents to presidents. Santa Clarita City Council candidate Diane Trautman participated in a mock press conference scenario to demonstrate the concept of freedom of speech to the Scouts.
The Scouts wrapped up the night with an election simulation. Instead of debating about candidates, they focused on a proposal to ban plastic straws. Scouts spoke both for and against banning plastic straws before they lined up to cast their votes, with city council candidate Brett Haddock serving as the emcee for the debate.
“Two of the Scouts each took a side and discussed the pros and cons, and then the rest of the Scouts voted,” Haddock said. “It was a great experience, and good to see the kids so enthusiastic about the process.”
Once the votes were tallied, the results were revealed. The plastic straw ban won by a narrow margin.
At the end of the event, the Scouts got special treats: sugar cookies shaped like Christy Smith, Diane Trautman and Brett Haddock.
“Some people might wonder why a group of candidates with just weeks before the election would spend Friday night talking to a room full of Girl Scouts who are too young to vote,” troop leader Shelley Preston said. “They’re dedicated to growing Santa Clarita’s future generation of leaders.”
Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese American poet and researcher. She is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and a College of the Canyons graduate. She is also the author of Ghosts Still Walking (2016) and Battlefield Blooming (2019). Find her on Twitter @DoNguyenMai.