Four Eden Prairie Girls Scouts have survived a test of the three elements of the organization’s mission – “to build girls of courage, confidence and character.”
Today, they and their leaders are expressing gratitude to a friendly Georgia city for helping them to salvage a hard-earned and long-planned trip that looked doomed only a few days ago.
The four members of Troop 17922 – all 13 years old – Eva Mae Canonico, Zoe Hendrickson, Grace Proper, and Leah Anderson – sold 11,732 boxes of Girls Scout cookies over the past four years to pay for the trip.
After a forced postponement in 2020 due to the pandemic, the girls were excited to board an airplane in less than a month from now.
Then, last weekend, they learned that the condo they had rented had been sold and that the new owner didn’t know about the troop’s reservations and had rented it out.
Shocked by the turn of events, troop co-leaders Nanette Canonico and Jen Hendrickson scoured the internet for replacement lodging, only coming up with expensive properties well outside of their $2,500 budget.
On May 15 they learned that the management of the condo they had rented on Tybee Island, a barrier island near Savannah, had gone out of business and a new owner had taken over. Previous reservations had not transferred to the new management company, which had since re-booked the property.
They were stuck. Vacation properties in the Savannah area on short notice were running $5,000 above their budget.
Hampering their efforts were strict Girl Scout Council rules about where they can stay.
In a last-ditch effort, Canonico decided to take the troop’s story directly to the people of Savannah, ironically also known as the Hostess City.
She contacted NBC affiliate WSAV and scored a hit.
“We’re just hoping someone has somewhere we can stay,” Canonico told WSAV News 3 reporter Edward Moody via Zoom in a broadcast that aired May 20 in Savannah.
Canonico shared the troop’s story, complete with a backdrop of the smiling Girl Scouts selling cookies outdoors in the dead of winter, carrying cookies down the street in a wagon, and, well…just smiling brightly and holding up signs saying “Thank you for your support.”
At the end of the story the news anchor announced that Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals, a generous local company that undoubtedly saw a great public relations opportunity, had stepped forward to pledge to provide a condo big enough for the entire group at a discounted rate that fits their budget.
“While we never expected this to happen, we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from Savannah,” Canonico said. “Kris Hummer and Edward Moody of WSAV have championed for us, got us a place to stay and even invited the girls to tour the TV station.” See the news story here.
In addition to visiting the birthplace of Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, the group plans to visit the Mighty 8thAir Force Museum, Old Fort Jackson, enjoy a sunset dolphin tour and experience seining – a fishing method using nets – in the Atlantic Ocean through a program at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
And in the spirit of the fourth component of the Girl Scouts mission – “to make the world a better place” – they also plan to do a beach clean-up with a volunteer group. Turns out it will also be a final thank you to Savannah, the Hostess City.
Troop 17922 is in the Prairie Sky Service Unit, part of Girl Scouts River Valleys, which encompasses most of Minnesota.