Submitted by Virginia Brown
Troop 10107 and their parents from Rifle recently visited with the Garfield County Sherriff’s department about Stranger Danger. Corporal Megan, Community Relations Assistant Jennifer and Deputy Amy all spent time talking with the girls.
Girls learned it is OK to listen to the “tummy feeling” of something does not seem right. Corporal Megan told us, when our tummy says that to “Look Up, Look Around, and Look Down”. It is good to look people in the eye, and acknowledge that we see them. Apparently abductors don’t want a target that has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it. Abductors also don’t want a victim that might be able to identify them.
Girls learned about their personal “hula hoop” space, being aware of their surroundings, observation skills, and strangers aren’t always where danger comes from. Rather than walking home, talking or texting on their phones (appearing to be distracted to their surroundings) the girls were encouraged that if they must talk on the phone while walking that they put the phone on speaker and talk about the details of what they see. Such as “Oh, a guy in a grey sweatshirt just passed me” or “Mrs. Jones is out walking her dog.”
We also learned we should never ever help someone who says their dog is lost and can we help them find their dog. If someone asks you to help, it is OK to say “No.” Be sure to go tell an adult that someone lost their dog and asked for help. And, never ever give directions to someone who asks! Tell them to ask an adult!
What about those people that give gifts to kids without their parents knowledge or consent? What about “secrets”? We learned that children should never take gifts from anyone without their parents’ knowledge. Parents in attendance were told “If someone is giving your child presents that make you or your child uncomfortable, ask them to stop. People who are honest folks will understand you are protecting your child. People with dishonest intentions will come up with all sorts of reasons why they should be able to give your child presents.”
Can you keep a secret? No. We learned that children should be taught that there should not be secrets ever. “Don’t tell your parents, this is a secret.” Secrets make it so that people who need help can’t get it. Surprises are OK – such as “Next week we are going to Disney World. It is a surprise for your brother’s birthday”. A trust statement “Can I trust you if I tell you that I think that boy is cute?” is also OK.
Girls attending received a booklet titled “Your Child’s Personal Safety – Tips to prevent abduction” published by Prevent Child Abuse America; Child Identification kits for their parents to use, and a really cool backpack filled with a coloring book, water bottle and a Junior Deputy badge.
Thank You to Corporal Megan, Community Relations Assistant Jennifer and Deputy Amy for spending time with Troop 10107. Thank you also to Garfield County for supporting Girl Scouts.
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