There were vendor booths from a martial arts studio, dance studio, local public safety agencies and the park district. And judging from the estimated 400 to 500 in attendance at the Sept. 8 Hesperia Kids Fest at the Epicentre, the first-ever event was a success.

"So far the turnout has been awesome," Denise LaPage, event organizer for Hesperia Girl Scouts, said before Kids Fest had concluded.

Co-sponsored by the Hesperia Girl Scouts and Hesperia Recreation and Park District, the day featured refreshments, crafts and more than 35 booths from area organizations representing youth programs and services for children of all ages.

"I hope this event brings everybody together."

Seven of Hesperia's 13 troops were represented at the event.

While youngsters certainly had fun, perhaps the most important purpose was to recruit new leaders. But while many parents signed up, they wouldn't be assuming leadership responsibilities right away.

"We don't just send them out on the streets and let them go," LaPage said.

All potential leaders undergo background checks and training. Within several weeks, qualified Girl Scout leaders are usually ready for a new, exciting chapter in their lives.

According to LaPage, being a Girl Scout changes lives.

"They [Girl Scouts] get an opportunity to be independent. We want to help girls grow strong."

LaPage's own experience as a Girl Scout affirms her testimony.

"It made a difference in my life."

And now as a leader, her two daughters are also reaping the benefits and enjoying new friendships.

"They both absolutely love it," LaPage said.

For more information on the Hesperia Girl Scouts, call Denise LaPage at 949-4716.