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Heidi Aldrich: Pine Ridge Reservation advocate and Girl Scout–Dakota Horizons Troop Leader in the Pahin Sinte area located on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

As a psychology major at the Oglala Lakota College, Heidi Aldrich felt that she had a lot to offer the girls who are residents of an underprivileged area, where many live in substandard conditions. Thanks to Heidi, a group of elementary school-aged girls on the Pine Ridge Reservation were offered the chance to experience the exciting opportunity of belonging to a Girl Scout troop.

In an area where bullying and a high suicide rate are the norm, these girls learned through Girl Scouts that there are other options available to them to prepare for a successful future, either on the reservation or by integrating into communities outside the reservation.

12-22-14 volunteer

Girl Scouts helped make them feel special about who they are in a confusing and difficult world. Heidi introduced Girls Scouts using the Daisy and Brownie Journeys, a series of books at the core of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. The girls learned how they could take action in their communities while representing to their Native American heritage and the world around them. The It’s Your Planet, Love It! Journey lead the girls to activities like the conservation of natural resources and sustaining the land. Each of these experiences encourage the girls to continue on a path of success while incorporating valuable lifelong skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

After guiding her two adult helpers to be successful leaders, Heidi moved to Spearfish, South Dakota, where she continues to be a leader of Girl Scouts in that area. Heidi also was granted the opportunity to participate in the Margret A. Cargill Foundation (MAC) grant camp training program. Through this training, Heidi designed a camp called Nature Theatre Camp. This 3 day camp was girl-led by Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors, 2nd through 5th grades. The Girl Scout Leadership Series titled It’s Your Planet, Love It! lead girls through each day’s activities. The Brownie’s Journey book titled WOW Wonders of Water, led them to make fairy costumes to represent all aspects of the life giving water cycle, while the Junior Journey book, Entertainment Technology, helped them design the set, write a play, create a play bill for guests and lead the entertainment. The camp was a huge success.

Heidi’s passion for girls has proven to be well worth the effort in both the Pahin Sinte area of the Pine Ridge Reservation and in the Spearfish community. Girl Scouts–Dakota Horizons is grateful for Heidi’s service to Girl Scouts and hopes that her story inspires you to help us develop girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place!