Anjulie, Faith, Grace, Hannah, Lillie, Maddie, Mia, Nora, Raechel, and Sarina are 10 teenage girls who have been friends for a remarkably long time. Their friendship cemented in large part because of the Girl Scout troop formed by their moms 9 years ago. We caught up with them as they were being filmed for a television news story in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day.
What do you like about your Girl Scout Troop?
Faith: “All the friends, dancing at the meetings, and the talent show!” Grace loves being the DJ at these dance parties! Maddie likes hosting the Girl Scouts at her house for horse camp, and Nora pipes in that she loves horse camp too! Beyond horses and parties, these girls serve their community – recently they visited a nursing home whose residents requested they come back again!
The parents see the troop as a benefit too. “The community we build with this group means the kids get bonus moms and dads to dance with, ask questions of, ask for help, and laugh with.”
You’ve all really grown up since this troop first formed. How is life as a teenager?
Mia: “It can be a wreck sometimes! Most teenagers have attitude.”
Maddie: “You can do anything you want, but you still have to listen to parents.”
Hannah: “I get to sit in the front seat of the car!”
Lillie: “I’m a teenager who likes to listen to music and do things on my own.”
Anjulie likes having her own style, especially when it comes to hair styles and hats. Sarina likes pizza parties and being in high school. Nora and Hannah mention being on school baseball and basketball teams. In fact, all of the girls play various team sports and stay active. Sarina’s mom listed “We have dancers, actors, gymnasts, swimmers , skiers, baseball–basketball-soccer players just to name a few.” Of course, the girls add that they all love to dance! Nora’s mom says she has been dancing since she was a babe in arms, so it’s no surprise she was recently on stage for a hip-hop show at her high school!
What do you think about being filmed for television?
Mia had been interviewed for TV three times already, so she felt no pressure. Sarina had just finished being filmed recently by someone “super nice and sweet” for the DSC. Hannah admitted being a bit nervous and shy about it, but Anjulie said “No. Not at all.” when asked if she was nervous. Nora was very happy about it, and Maddie had been on TV a couple of times already. For the most part, these girls were at ease in front of a camera. Although Mia was nervous her first time on TV, her best advice now for anyone being filmed for TV is “Don’t think about being on TV. Once you get up there, you can feel calm and confident.”
After the segment aired, and several of the girls’ schoolmates had seen it, their comments were all positive. Anjulie said, “Great! Now other friends know to be nice to each other.” There was no shyness among these girls about sharing their story with friends, family, and classmates. One of the moms thinks the feature has “created quite the batch of celebrities.”
What are the ups and downs of having Down Syndrome?
The unanimous response to whether these girls face challenges from having Down syndrome was “None!” Sarina says “I don’t think I have any challenges.” Mia adds “There are not that many challenges. Some have Down syndrome and some have a typical diagnosis and some are autistic…” The girls explain how Down syndrome occurs with a unique division resulting in a 3rd 21st chromosome – in other words, “You’re born with Down syndrome.”
The positives of having Down syndrome include having other best friends with Down syndrome like they’ve found in their Girl Scout troop. They describe each other as “cool” and “sweet” and “kind.” These girls also love their school friends and tell about their great families. Mia says, “Most of my friends and family don’t have Down syndrome but I have my troop that does. Friends with or without – it doesn’t make a difference.”
Sarina says that having Down syndrome means she gets to do lots of cool stuff. Anjulie mentions all the great DSC activities and suggests that people get more involved in them. Lillie notes, “We have a fashion show and it’s really cool.” Sarina adds that people think she’s cute! But she also concludes, “My message to the community is that everybody is the same. You are a normal person and you have Down syndrome.”
See their story from King 5 television HERE.