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Scouts to host Empowerment Workshop

From left: Girl Scouts Lily Skinner, Mayra Hernandez and Isabella Marazzani, from Troop 30365. The three have worked for the past two years to put together a Girl Empowerment Workshop to bring girls together with women that work in traditionally male-dominant jobs. (NICKI MARAZZANI / Courtesy)
From left: Girl Scouts Lily Skinner, Mayra Hernandez and Isabella Marazzani, from Troop 30365. The three have worked for the past two years to put together a Girl Empowerment Workshop to bring girls together with women that work in traditionally male-dominant jobs. (NICKI MARAZZANI / Courtesy)
By E. CLARK
Martinez Tribune

MARTINEZ, Calif. – A group of local girls are on their way to earning one of the most prestigious awards in Girl Scouting, while at the same time helping to motivate Martinez’s next generation of young ladies.

Lily Skinner, Mayra Hernandez and Isabella Marazzani, all incoming freshmen at Alhambra High School and members of Girl Scout Troop 30365, are sponsoring a Girl Empowerment Workshop for girls in grades 5-9. The workshop will bring youngsters together with women that work in traditionally male-dominant jobs.

“It opens the girls up to some ideas to pursue – things they might not have known were available before. It helps them to understand that girls can do the jobs that guys are doing,” said Troop Leader Nicki Marazzani, who’s also Isabella’s mother.

Organizing the workshop has been a near two-year effort for the girls, who must each spend at least 50 hours working on the project.

“There are a lot of parts to it – making posters, putting flyers out, the invitations, the actual event. It’s hard to do along with school, sports and everything else,” Nicki said.

The girls said they went about recruiting professional women to participate in the project mostly via the Internet, but that parent connections also helped.

“Everbody’s parents know at least one female that has a male dominant job. I think we knew them, and we thought, ‘Oh, we should invite them, I think they would enjoy it,’” Skinner said.

Thus far, local volunteers for the workshop include Martinez City Councilwoman Debbie McKillop, who works as a forensic crime lab manager for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office; Dana Lawson, senior engineer at the Contra Costa County Sanitary District; chef Rachael Zavala, and someone from Homeland Security. The girls are still recruiting for volunteers and particularly hope to find women firefighters and police officers, though ladies from an array of professions are encouraged to participate.

The women will go from group to group, table to table, sharing their experiences with the girls in a “speed dating” format. Grace Episcopal Church, a regular supporter of Girl Scouts, is donating the space for the event.

Skinner, Hernandez and Isabella said they came up with the idea for their Silver Award project after Isabella shared her experience at a science and math camp. Each of the girls are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related careers, with Skinner looking into a career in either crime pathology or clinical psychology, Hernandez interested in going into the medical field, and Isabella “unsure, but definitely STEM.”

Once they finish the workshop, they’ll be responsible for filling out all the requisite paperwork and turning it into the Girl Scout Council for approval. Afterward, they’ll receive Silver Award pins and badges, and then possibly, move on to a Gold Award project.

The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, and is likened to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout designation. The three are unsure if they’ll go for the Gold, but no matter what, want to remain Girl Scouts.

“They definitely get more opportunities in Girl Scouts than they would otherwise,” Nicki said. “They’ve tried scuba diving, kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding. And as much as I want my kids to do those things, it’s hard to take them to do that, so Girl Scouts is a great program.”

The Girl Empowerment Workshop will take place Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon at Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road, Martinez. All girls grades 5-9 are welcome to attend the supervised event. For more information or to volunteer, email GirlPowerUnited2015@gmail.com.

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