MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Two Combat Center food service Marines provided an educational cooking session for a Girl Scouts of America troop at the Protestant Chapel Nov. 13.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Keith Mohn, the food service operations officer, and Master Sgt. Brian Velloza, a food service technician, volunteered to help Girl Scout Brownie Troop 618 earn their Make It, Eat It, Try It badges for cooking and sanitation.
“Basically, we’re here to provide them assistance in order to earn their merit badge,” said Mohn, a Pittsburgh native. “We’re going to focus on cleanliness, safety, and putting out a good product, just like the Marine Corps cooks are trained to do in the field and in garrison.”
The Brownies prepared a breakfast menu, made up of French toast, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fruit salad, and fruit punch to drink.
With the help of Natasha Durrette and Heidi Fenton, Brownie Troop 618’s leaders, the girls were broken down into groups and assigned to a specific food item. Each of the Brownies were given a chance to help make their respective menu items.
Durrette explained the goal isn’t to get the Brownies, whose ages range from 7 to 10 years old, to necessarily complete the task, but simply to try.
“The girls can learn and try things on their own or they can do it in groups, depending on the task required by the badge,” she said.
The Brownies were not only taught how to properly prepare the food, but also how to present it so it’s more aesthetically pleasing.
“I’m going to show you how to display this now, because people eat based on what they see,” said Velloza, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, after the French toast had been made. “If we make it look nice and pretty, people are really going to want to eat it.”
Most of the girls also got a chance to make decorative turkey centerpieces for their tables, which were made of feathers, foam, and colored plastic pieces.
After all the food was prepared, the Brownies all sat down and sampled the breakfast feast they had just prepared. Once they all had a chance to eat, Mohn asked them how they liked their food.
“Delicious!” replied the Brownies, in unison.
Durrette said she was glad everyone in the troop was given a chance to try for their badges and had fun doing it.
“Everyone earned their badge today for learning how to cook and sanitize,” she said. “I think they did a great job. Hopefully they can go home and cook a nice breakfast meal for their parents. I’m really proud of them.”
Brownie Troop 618, which is made up entirely of military dependents, is selling candy and magazines until the end of November to help raise funds for future projects so they can earn more merit badges. Cookie sales will begin in January and end in March.
The Brownies are also trying to remodel their Scout hut, but need volunteers to aid them in their endeavor. Brownie Troops 618 and 657 will both be using the hut once it’s completed.
“Right now, we’re meeting wherever people have room for us,” said Durrette. “One week, we’ll meet here, but the next week, we might have to find somewhere else to go.”
Anyone who is interested in helping the Brownies complete their project or earn their merit badges can contact Durrette at 368-9918.