New leader needed to keep special Girl Scout troop together


by Tiffany Craig / KHOU 11 News

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 11 at 12:34 PM

HOUSTON -- For 34 years, members of Girl Scout Troop 21 have enjoyed monthly meetings with crafts, cooking and other traditional troop activities.

The troop was formed in 1977 for special needs Girl Scouts of all ages.

Leader Charlotte Sewell, 77, has been with the girls from the beginning, but she is planning to retire at the end of the year.

"It’s been a wonderful time but I’m not able to do that anymore," said Sewell. "So it’s time for someone else to help."

The group meets one Sunday every month in the Montrose area.


"Each time they have a meeting, they realize they’re part of something special," Sewell said.

The current group ranges in age from 30 to 61 years old, but each has the developmental skills of a 10-year-old or younger.

Kathy Fenninger, with the Bending Bayou Service Unit, showed a display case on Saturday that belonged to the troop.

"It’s just an incredible group of women who love to get together and they like to be part of a bigger thing," Fenninger said.

The troop was formed by Elizabeth Duvall, who had a special needs daughter. Her friend Sewell was quickly recruited to help because she has a disabled daughter, too.

Within a year, membership had soared to 36 and grew to as many as 40 members.

Now it's down to 11 members, including Mona Cross and Sewell's daughter Kathy, who joined in 1977.

The women earn badges and have won awards and Sewell said their faces light up during each meeting.

The troop hopes to stay together and the search is under way for a new leader.

Fenninger knows it won’t be easy, but says so much is at stake.

"What we really need is somebody who has a passion for special needs and would want to keep this going because we don’t want the troop to end," she said.

You don’t need Girl Scout experience to lead Troop 21, but they are looking for someone who has experience with special-needs adults. That person would also be required to take a three-hour training course.

If you can help Troop 21, call the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council at (713) 292-0300.