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Girl Scout troop in Florida welcomes people with differing abilities

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Posted at 10:44 AM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 12:57:20-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A Girl Scout troop in Florida is welcoming people with differing abilities.

Girl Scout Troop 30276 came together on Tuesday night and met at All People's Life Center in Tampa.

The troop has no age limit, which is amazing for 35-year-old Ashley Forcke, who has Down syndrome.

Forcke became a Girl Scout nearly 15 years ago.

"She can't wait to go to Girl Scouts on Tuesday night and don't mess with that schedule if anything else comes up because she wants to be here. In fact, she's usually early," said Forcke's mother, Sarah Clark.

The ladies celebrated "World Thinking Day." Each lady picked a country that they wanted to learn more about and put together a presentation and shared it with the group.

"It has got to be the friendships and being around kids that accept each other openly. They just have a good time with each other," said Clark.

Sheila Hill is the troop leader, and she grew up as a Girl Scout and has led the way for more than 40 years.

"Our troop has girls from age five to adults. Some of them have disabilities, some of them don't," said Hill.

"We go on camping trips. They have new experiences, things they have never done before like camping, canoeing, sailing, horseback riding," she added.

Clark said her daughter has made people more patient and accepting.

"She's my angel. She had changed a lot of people's lives," she said.

"Girls of all abilities can love each other and accept each other and do things together without seeing race, color, disability, height weight, without seeing any kind of differences."

This story was first reported by Julie Salomone at WFTS in Tampa, Florida.