Mount Vernon-area mom Melanie Froemke was looking for something more than Girl Scouts as an activity for her 5-year-old daughter, Eliza. Froemke found what she was looking for in Earth Champs, an organization that encourages boys and girls to become responsible global citizens and empowers with the ability to make a difference in the local community and throughout the world.
Froemke and other local parents are starting a new chapter of Earth Champs beginning Sept. 6 at . The group is open to children ages 3 through 13 and will meet at 2:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month, as many children already lined up for the program are homeschooled.
Organizers also hope to offer a 4 p.m. meeting for school-going children if they have enough volunteers to serve as co-facilitators.
Earth Champs participants promote an Earth Charter vision of a caring, sustainable and peaceful world. The Earth Charter contains four pillars: respect for nature, social and economic justice, participatory democracy, and peace, non-violence and human rights. For Froemke, Earth Champs was a perfect opportunity for Eliza.
“She loved the idea of that, and it just seems to be the focus that I wanted to encourage for my kids,” she said. “And I think the values are great, and it’s what you make of it.
“I think each Earth Champs group is a little different. There’s not a formula you have to follow, so you can really take it and run with it.”
During group times, children first meet together and are then divided into three groups to allow for age-appropriate activities: ages 3 and 4, ages 5 through 8 and ages 9 through 13. Each meeting lasts 90 minutes.
The organization’s motto is: "Changing the World, one fun badge at a time!" Froemke and co-facilitators have already lined up the first badge-earning activities, including participating in Art on the Avenue in Del Ray by making pots out of recycled materials, planting trees, packing meals for homeless shelters and working with nature centers in the county on clean-up projects. The group facilitators plan to let the children help decide which activities to engage in.
“We want the kids to really take part of the lead and determine what they want to do with the projects,” Froemke said.
Parent information sessions will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 at the church. Parents interested in becoming co-facilitators or who want more information on the program can contact Froemke at email@example.com.
You can also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlexandriaEarthScouts.