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Scouts setting sail in boat parade

December 11, 2005|By By Michael Miller

Annual Christmas event in Newport Harbor is service work for some troopers.Over the last year and a half, Delana Stoica has raised $280 selling Girl Scout cookies. It wasn't pocket money, though: She recently spent it to buy lights and wreaths to decorate a boat in this year's Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.

Still, the 12-year-old Fullerton resident will get something out of the 97th annual event this month. She expects her work on Blacksilver, a 58-foot racing yacht owned by the Bob Koll Sailing Foundation, to earn her the Girl Scouts Silver Award. The Silver Award, which requires 40 hours of community service, is the highest honor given to Girl Scouts before the ninth grade.

In the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, starting Wednesday and continuing till next Sunday, three Fullerton Girl Scouts plan to earn their honors by working on Blacksilver: Delana by decorating the boat, 12-year-old Jasmine Ju by hosting a concessions stand on the dock, and 11-year-old Marina Thomas by assisting the other two girls.

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"I've been wanting to do it since I got in cadets," Delana said Saturday, untangling a roll of colored lights to string around the boat.

Two years ago, the Bob Koll Sailing Foundation formed in Newport Beach to offer sailing experience to poor and at-risk youths. Jane Hartley, an English teacher at Estancia High School, serves as president of the nonprofit group on the weekends.

"There's a sense that boating is very elite, and one of the reasons we started the foundation is to change that," Hartley said.

Earlier this year, Delana's mother and troop advisor, Donna Stoica, approached Hartley and asked if her Girl Scouts could do a sailing activity. Two of Stoica's sons had worked on a boys-only vessel in Newport Beach, and she wanted her daughter to have the same experience.

During the annual parade, Blacksilver will be decked out in colored lights, icicle lights and wreaths. While the Girl Scouts earn their medals, several boys from the local Sea Scouts will serve as crew members and help navigate the boat.

"This is a big boat, and the harbor is just going to be a zoo," Hartley said. "They'll help keep our captain out of trouble."

Evan Wanamaker, a junior at Newport Harbor High School, will be among the Sea Scouts working during the parade. He said sailing is a lifelong passion for him.

"A few months ago, some of my friends called me and said, 'You want to be in the Boy Scouts, except it's all sailing?'" said Evan, 17. "I said, 'Sign me up.'"

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