BELTON — Virago: A woman of strength or spirit; a female warrior.
These are the qualities that a local group of girls have come to embody as they seek to learn more from the world around them than what a young woman would traditionally be associated with.
The only issue was finding a place to gain those skills and knowledge.
In stepped the idea of the Virago Girls.
After becoming disillusioned with what her local Girl Scouts troop was offering, Amelia Greene decided she wanted to go in a different direction.
“I joined the Girl Scouts because I thought we would do stuff like this, like archery. But I left because all we did was color,” she said. “It wasn’t what I was looking for.”
She thought the Girl Scouts would be a different experience because of what other groups like the Boy Scouts do.
“I thought it was like that because there was this boy in Boy Scouts who said it was all fun stuff like archery and axe throwing,” Amelia said.
With the help of her mother, Kris Greene, and a plethora of sponsors and volunteers, the Virago Girls have become a small but growing group of girls looking to step outside of the roles that society had previously set for them.
“My daughter is the brains of the operation,” Kris Greene said. “We started with six and now have about 22 girls.”
After a delay to the group’s start because of the coronavirus pandemic, the girls began their non-traditional learning experiences in November. They meet every Monday and do most of their events on Saturdays, working with local businesses and experts to learn a specific craft or skill.
Already, the girls have taken part in archery, axe throwing and even delved into auto repair and car financing.
All the girls in the group participate in the planning and execution of each activity.
“It’s been a group effort, for sure,” Kris Greene said.
Nancy Hernandez, whose daughter Lily is a part of the group, became interested in the Virago Girls after seeing a sign about it.
“I loved the activities it advertised, a lot of archery and axe throwing, and just the cool activities I knew my daughter would love to participate in,” Hernandez said. “Plus, it was just nice to have my daughter meet girls who were interested in similar things. I love anything that’s about female empowerment.”
She said her daughter loved the axe throwing.
“These are out-of-the-box activities that I think are really important for kids to learn,” Hernandez said.
March was woodworking month and on a recent Saturday the girls made planters for the Belton Senior Center.
Helping with the task were Russel Wasik from Wasik Construction and Joshua Salmon from Parkway Real Estate.
During the event, the girls got some hands-on experience with a table saw, drill and nail gun.
“We want to emphasize safety,” Salmon said. “The girls are going to have to work together and learn to respect the tools they are using. The minute you don’t respect these tools, they can hurt you.”
For April, the group plans on focusing on outdoor activities.
Kris Greene said the girls will learn how to skateboard from a professional skateboarder and will do a “survival” camping trip later in the month.
In order to become a part of the Virago Girls, a $25 registration fee is required along with a $10 monthly fee. And while the girls do sell items for various fundraising, for most of the events the individual sponsors have provided nearly all the material and time for each activity.
Membership in the group includes age appropriate gear, weekly meetings, use of equipment and monthly field trips.
To learn more about the Virago Girls, you can visit them on Facebook, call 254-220-1143 or email the group at email@example.com.