Photos: Girl Scouts of Colorado launches statewide self-defense program

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"That happened at my stepmom's school, Columbine," says one Girl Scout, about eleven years old, at the front of the group. "They shot lots of people." Behind her, another Girl Scout asks where Columbine is. Another just asks, "Why?" Too young to have read about the event in the papers themselves, all three girls -- and roughly seventy others -- are currently being trained to protect themselves if a similar scenario should ever include them.

As part of the Fight Like A Girl Scout self-defense program, launched into action by Girl Scouts of Colorado earlier this month, she is among hundreds of girls across the state for whom the school shooting serves as an example in class.

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Kelsey Whipple
Scouts reenact a school shooting, in which they are taught to fall to the ground under their desks and voer their heads with a book.
"If some guy comes into your school with a gun and starts shooting, you fall over, cover yourself with your desk and put a book in front of yourself so he can't get you," says Kym Rock, the new program's main teacher. "You cover every part of your body you can, and you do it fast."

Only four weeks into its beginning, the Fight Like a Girl Scout program serves as an introduction to self-defense tactics through ninety-minute sessions organized by age group. In this past Saturday's class in Broomfield, junior scouts and their older peers learned to protect themselves and fight back in a handful of modern situations: experiencing a school shooting, being blinded by a hoodie, catching up after they are pushed to the ground. The program is complementary to the organization's long-running Power Up class, a longer full-day event that teaches girls how to take action to support a victim of bullying.

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Kelsey Whipple
Volunteers used fake guns to simulate the element of surprise.
"It all has to do with actual awareness, being able to identify who the safe people are in your life, why they feel safe to you, who the bad people are and why they feel that way," says Cathy Millon, program services manager for Girl Scouts of Colorado. "Many of the girls have never even thought of these situations before, and we want them to be as prepared as possible."

Page down for additional "Fight Like a Girl Scout" photos and interviews.


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