The Girl Scout troops of West Central Florida officially embarked on a new year of programming this weekend, and they found the perfect launching pad for takeoff: One Buccaneer Place.
Signifying a new partnership between the Girl Scouts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team invited more than 2,000 Girl Scouts, family members and troop leaders to their state-of-the-art facility on Saturday to conduct their annual Family Fest. In addition to learning about the events and activities they would be taking part in over the coming year, the Scouts also were treated to interactive exhibits set up on the One Buc Place practice field by such community partners as Junior Achievement, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Glazer Family Museum. These exhibits gave the Scouts some ideas on pathways to earn badges throughout the year.
The Buccaneers' influence added another level of significance to the event, as the team joined the Girl Scouts organization in promoting healthy and active lifestyles.
"The Buccaneers know that we can encourage girls of our community to live healthy and active lifestyles as well as create an awareness of all the careers available in professional sports," said Eileen Sweeney, the Buccaneers' director of community relations.
One Buccaneer Place proved to be the perfect venue for these efforts, as the practice fields that usually serve Buccaneer players were transformed into a mini-camp for the hundreds of Girl Scouts on hand. The girls ran through a variety of football drills with the help of team volunteers and had a grand time while also being taught the value of daily exercise. At the end of the drills, hundreds of girls took the Play 60 pledge with the Buccaneers, committing to spend an hour a day in some sort of physical activity.
More than 300 of the visiting Girl Scouts also took pre-arranged tours inside One Buccaneer Place, getting a close-up look at the types of careers a professional sports team can offer. Outside, they also toured the Glazer Family Foundation's Vision Mobile, which is part of the Foundation's ongoing efforts to provide children in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties with the vision correction they need.
The engaged and excited reactions from the visiting girls was what the Buccaneers had hoped to find at One Buccaneer Place when they made their home available for the organization's annual kickoff event.
"We are proud to be launching this partnership with the Girl Scouts of our area," said Sweeney. "We recognize that, as a professional sports team, we have many resources that we can bring to the Girl Scouts to help them with their efforts to expand the opportunities available to the girls of our community."
Saturday's Family Fest at One Buccaneer Place was only the beginning of the fruitful partnership the Buccaneers are forming with the area's Girl Scouts. Additional events will include on-site visits, a "Take-a-Girl-Scout-to-Work" program, a women-in-sports seminar, and more. Also, all Girl Scouts who are in attendance at the Buccaneers' December 8 home contest against Buffalo, which is this year's Play 60-themed game, will receive a patch honoring the new partnership.
"We were thrilled to have the Girl Scouts in our home on Saturday," said Sweeney. "We look forward to developing this new partnership so that the girls in our community have every opportunity to grow as future leaders and develop healthy lifestyles."