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  • Girl Scouts nurture their inner geek at WPI expo

    WORCESTER - Claire O'Donnell of Shrewsbury said she was enjoying everything about the Geek is Glam STEM Expo at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, but what especially caught her eye were the robots being run by the Burncoat High School robotics team.

    "I love their cool robotics," she said. "But a lot of things here are amazing."

    "I think I want to be a scientist," she added as she looked around the room at the many scientific displays set up for the more than 460 Girl Scouts attending the all-day event Saturday.

    Nick Galotti of the Burncoat robotics team, called the Green Reapers, said the group brought its robots to demonstrate what they build as high school students for competitions. The older robot proved popular, as it fired basketballs in the air for a large and excited group of Girl Scouts waiting to catch them. The other, newer robot shot a ball about the size of exercise balls used in gyms.

    Mr. Galotti said they were at the expo hoping to inspire some of the girls attending.

    "Hopefully they will come to understand these big robots can be built by people only a couple of years older than them," he said.

    Claire O'Donnell was at the expo with Cora Higgins, also of Shrewsbury, who said she especially liked the 3-D printing being demonstrated by Toys in Box 3D Printing. Cora said she is also interested in science but is not sure that is what she would focus on in the future.

    The Geek...

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  • Anastasia Cole of Longmeadow helps others with bereavement through Girl Scout Gold Award project

    LONGMEADOW –Anastasia S. Cole, a recent recipient of Girl Scouting's highest honor, says her mother has been her role model because she "takes everything that's bad and turns it into a good situation."

    It's a lesson Pamela Anastasiou-Cole taught her daughter well.

    When Anastasia's only sibling, Michael Cole, was 19, he died in a motorcycle accident. After that tragedy a year-and-a-half ago, Anastasia Cole created a grief library at her church, St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church in East Longmeadow, to help others through their own grief.

    It was that project of collecting books, DVDs, reference materials and other helpful information that earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award earlier this year.

    "When I was grieving, I had to find my own books and resources and places I could go and grieve and find help," the 17-year-old Longmeadow resident said. "I wanted to make it easier for other people to find resources to help them grieve."

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades nine through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects.

    In the process of earing their Gold Award, girls gain ski...

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  • Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Catherine Merton of East Longmeadow takes stewardship of Earth seriously

    EAST LONGMEADOW –Catherine F. Merton contends that each person should be a responsible steward of the Earth.

    "And part of being a steward of the Earth is by doing your best to not leave a negative mark on the environment," says the 19-year-old East Longmeadow High Schoolgraduate who recently earned Girl Scouting's highest honor, the Gold Award.

    She is entering her sophomore year at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where she plans to major in chemistry.

    For her Gold Award project, she planned a road race to raise money to buy and install a water bottle fill-up station – a hydration station – at East Longmeadow High School.

    "A very simple way people can reduce their waste is through stopping the use of plastic water bottles," she explained. The hydration station will help reduce the use of plastic water bottles by providing students with a convenient way to fill up their reusable water bottles with cold, filtered water.

    "The use of plastic water bottles is a very wasteful practice, and most plastic water bottles aren't recycled," Merton said.

    Her project aimed to promote the use of reusable water bottles as well as promote a healthy lifestyle.

    Through the fund-raising road race, she publicized the im...

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  • Emily McKinney of Southwick earns Girl Scouts' highest award

    SOUTHWICK –Through Girl Scouting, 17-year-old Emily L. McKinney has learned that the feeling she gets from making a difference in someone else's life is the "best feeling anyone could experience."

    A recent recipient of Girl Scouting's highest honor, the Gold Award, McKinney's project required for the award was called "Baby Blankets for the NICU."

    The daughter of Karen and Michael McKinney and others sewed quilts from donations of fabric, batting and thread given by participants in the Senior Center as well as friends and family. She taught the girls in her Troop 40049 – and her father – how to sew; all completed their own quilt.

    McKinney donated 51 of these baby quilts to the neonatal intensive care unit at Baystate Children's Hospital at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and nine smaller ones a similar unit at San Diego Medical Center in California.

    "I selected this project not only because I love to sew but also because my brother was in the NICU when he was a baby," she said.

    "It's hard enough for a family to have a child in the NICU, surrounded by gray wires, tubes protruding from places you'd never imagine, machines beeping, the thoughts of if your baby wi...

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  • Annaka Paradis-Burnett of Russell earns Gold Award, Girl Scouts' highest honor

    RUSSELL –When Annaka R. Paradis-Burnett began Girl Scouting, she was a shy little girl who couldn't make a telephone call or engage in small talk without panicking.

    But, with the gentle encouragement of her leaders and her mother, Jodie Paradis, who was involved in Scouting, Paradis-Burnett slowly gained more confidence in herself.

    "I learned how to interact with people on both a personal and professional level and became comfortable doing so," said the recent recipient of Girl Scouting's highest honor, the Gold Award. "I credit the cooperative environment fostered by Girl Scouts with helping me to develop the skills and confidence I need to succeed in all areas of my life."

    A member of Troop 377 in Russell, she developed a project to raise funds to purchase livestock for disadvantaged rural communities and created an educational curriculum on hunger, poverty and livestock for her sister Girl Scouts, which they utilized on a visit to Overlook Farm in Rutland, a Heifer International Farm.

    Called "Teach Me to Fish," the title of the project came from the old saying, "If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will never be...

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  • Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Rebecca Freitag of Hadley helps serve spiritual needs

    HADLEY –When Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Rebecca B. Freitag was asked who her Girl Scout role model is, she said it is her sister, Melissa Freitag.

    A lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, Melissa received herGold Award by raising money for relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable action projects.

    Earlier this year, Rebecca Freitag earned her award with a project to bring communion to elderly persons who are unable to go to church and creating a pamphlet for what is in the communion kit and one that describes how to conduct a communion service.

    The member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst also made two wooden crosses to serve as the centerpiece during a communion service.

    Some of her pamphlets and a cross went to the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts to be used to train lay eucharistic visitors.

    Freitag said her sister is her role model "because she works very hard not only for herself, but to help everyone around her...

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  • Amelia Vega of Holyoke earns Girl Scouting’s highest award with service project in Kenya

    HOLYOKE –For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Amélia M. Vega went to Kenya to work on two projects to help people in that east Africa country.

    The 2015 Holyoke High School graduate helped an engineers-without- borders group from the University of Hartford with a project on food stability for the first week and then worked on her own empowerment project in Ahero with a group of girls in a series of workshops and plays.

    "In Kenya, plays are powerful way to display a message," Vega explained.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award is Girl Scouting' highest achievement.

    With an older group of women, she set up discussion groups to talk about sexually transmitted infections and sexual information about which women do not generally talk. "These sessions helped many women get information that is often hard to acquire through means of the general public," she said.

    Vega left more than 500 condoms and information pamphlets there.

    "Clearly, the condoms will exhaust, but the information will not because the pamphlets are to stay at the nursery permanently," she said.

    She spoke to the women at Ebenezer Nursery.

    The younger girls will continue to use the workshops and resources given to them to educat...

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  • Girl Scouts build, fill planter at Fitchburg Library

    FITCHBURG – One little corner of the city is a little more colorful and bright thanks to Girl Scout Troop 11013. Even Mayor Lisa Wong noticed.

    Three Girl Scouts, Kayla Sadowski, Emma L’ecuyer and Morgan Jollimore decided to make a planter and fill it with beautiful annuals as a community service project.

    They approached Fitchburg Public Library Director Sharon Bernard and asked permission to donate and install a planter on library grounds. After a tour of the building, they decided to place it on the patio outside and near the Children’s Library.

    “The girls built the planter, finished it, including stenciling the library name on it, planted the flowers, as well as the hostas on either side of the planter. They did an absolutely wonderful job, we are most appreciative and thank them for thinking of us,” Ms. Bernard said.

    “We had to cut wood with a table saw, stain the wood and built it at my house. My dad helped us,” Emma said.

    The girls picked out impatiens, begonias, plants that would do well in the shade. The hostas were dug out of Kayla’s family’s gardens and replanted on each side of the planter.

    “We went with Melissa (L’ecuyer, one of their troop leaders) and got some mulch, too,” Kayla said. The plants were placed in separate planter boxes so that the planter can be brought out of inclement weather.

    It took the girls two days to build the container, and another day to install and plant.

    Ms. L’ecuyer said buildin...

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  • Values, traditions, bind local Girl Scout alums

    Anyone who thought Girl Scouts were the little sisters of the scouting family better think again.

    Since the first meeting of the Girl Scouts, founded by Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, in 1912, more than 59 million women have joined, including First Ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, entertainers Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, astronaut Sally Ride, journalists Barbara Walters and Katie Couric, and comedienne Lucille Ball.

    Locally, the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts Alumnae Association keep alumnae connected, according to members Helen V. Poirier of Auburn and Katie McCarty of Leicester.

    “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout,” Ms. Poirier said.

    She said anyone who has ever been or is a Girl Scout, troop leader, volunteer or staff member is considered an alumna and is invited to join the organization, which already has more than 300 members.

    “We promote the continuation of the values of scouting and remaining connected. We are a resource for girls going for their Gold or Silver Award, the highest awards in scouting, and are tied to Sherry’s House in Worcester and other charities. Being a Girl Scout does not stop when you graduate from high school. It is good for a lifetime.”

    Both Ms. Poirier and Ms. McCarty are Lifetime Members of Girl Scouts.

    Ms. McCarty, who expects to receive her 60-year pin next year, was 7 when she became a Brownie...

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  • Passionate Pear Catering, Chanterelle, shine in 'Fork It Over' competition

    Crunchy chicken in a Do-Si-Dos dipping sauce and Samoas coconut shrimp with a mango-lime sauce were just a few of the dishes offered at this year's Girl Scout culinary competition.

    "Fork it Over is a great time with great food, music and people," said Meghan Smith, fund development specialist for the Girl Scouts. "Most of all it's a way to raise funds for a very worthy cause which is girls leadership programming right here in Western Massachusetts and Central Massachusetts."

    Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts hosted the event at the Delaney House Tuesday.

    Ten chefs from across the region created original appetizers and desserts using Girl Scout cookies.

    This year's winners in the savory category were new participants Chanterelle, of Southwick, with its chicken skewers with Samoa mole in first place and Great Grapes Catering in second place with its spinach turkey Trefoil bites.

    In the sweet category Passionate Pear Catering, based in East Longmeadow, took first place for a second year in a row with lemon beignets with blueberry dipping sauce.

    In second place was a restaurant entering the competition for the first time, Café Evolution, based in Florence, with their vegan chocolate cupcakes with Thin Mint cream cheese frosting.

    Other participating restaurants included:

    •Chandler's Restaurant, South Deerfield •Magic Spoon Catering, Monson •McLadden's Irish Publick House, Hampden,...

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  • Worcester News Tonight - Girl Scout Gold/Silver Award Ceremony Coverage

  • Hadley Girl Scouts dedicate fundraising project to late classmate


    HADLEY — Fourth-grade Girl Scouts Troop 11644, engaged in a leadership project to change the world for the better, had made a decision to raise money to help ease the Ebola crisis. But when Hadley Elementary School student Sam Pollard died of a rare disease in March, they all changed their minds.

    The Scouts instead are dedicating their fundraiser to their friend.

    Wednesday after school, the girls — wearing T-shirts that read “I am strong. I am brave. I am a Girl Scout and I can change the world.” — met and talked about their fundraiser and the accompanying event called “Do It For Sam Day,” scheduled for June 8 at the school.

    “We did this because we really like Sam,” Katelyn Kelley said.

    “We knew that a lot of people really liked Sam and it could help them get through having Sam gone,” said fellow Scout Kasey Earle.

    Sam was diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T), a neurodegenerative disease, when he was 2½, and lost the ability to walk or focus his eyes due to his condition. His mother, Nina Pollard, said Sam struggled against cancer related to his condition in addition to other health problems, and died at the age of 11 of multiple organ failure.

    A change in plans

    The fundraiser is a part of the Leadership Journey program with the Girl Scouts, an activity that asks Scouts to work to change something in the world for the better, according to Girl Scout Troop 11644 co-leader Jo-Ann Ko...

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  • Girl Scouts plant memorial garden

    AMHERST — A new garden with red, white and blue flowers served as the centerpiece for the town’s Memorial Day observances Monday.

    The garden, surrounding the memorial stone and flag pole outside War Memorial swimming pool, was installed and donated by Girl Scout Troop 11655, made up of fifth- and sixth-graders from Amherst, Shutesbury and Easthampton, as part of its work toward the Girl Scout Bronze Award. The award is the highest achievement available to Junior Girl Scouts.

    “They were so excited to do this for Amherst,” said troop leader Sarah Marshall.

    Marshall said after brainstorming a suitable project, the girls met with Alan Snow, the town’s director of trees and grounds, and talked to a garden designer.

    All plants were purchased at the Hadley Garden Center using money from their Girl Scout cookies sales. The garden’s plants include forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts, junipers and oat grass. The girls will maintain the garden, including planting bulbs in the fall.

    “They’ve been given a prominent spot and are very excited to keep it up,” Marshall said.

    Help for Nepal

    Visitors to the Amherst Rotary Community Fair this week can donate to a relief effort in Nepal through the Rotary Club of Amherst.

    Rotary member Kristi Bodin said a ShelterBox will be set up at the fair on the Town Common. The hope is to collect enough money to send an emergency kit to the region hit by two recent earthquakes....

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  • Take Eight with Lizz Gordon

    As director of the Girl Scouts’ 52-acre Camp Green Eyrie in Harvard, Lizz Gordon knows a thing or two about summer camp. It will be a while before the tents go up, but Gordon took some time to talk summer camp with us, envisioning warm summer days and cool camping nights.

  • Girl Scouts bring surprise for East Longmeadow officers

    EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – It was just a routine Saturday at the East Longmeadow Police Department until a Girl Scout troop came calling with gifts of appreciation.

    The Girl Scouts with their adult supervisor brought pizza, and of course, Girl Scout cookies, to the delight of the East Longmeadow Police Officers. -WWLP/22News

  • Girl Scouts, mothers enjoy a spot of tea

    The Clinton and Lancaster Girl Scouts held a tea at Clinton Middle School last weekend, along with mothers and other family members.

  • ID: Stacy Harper

    When Stacy Harper arrived at Camp Bonnie Brae in East Otis five years ago, she planned to work there for just one summer. But, she says, she fell in love with the area and decided she didn’t want to leave.

    “After camp ended that year, I drove my pickup truck back home to Michigan, loaded it up, and settled in Northampton,” Harper said. She served as the assistant camp director at Bonnie Brae until 2012, when she became the camp director.

  • Girl Scouts Summer Camp

    Girl Scouts is so much more than cookies.  Mandy Anderson, Program Manager and Kelsey Kreminec, Camp Bonnie Brae camper as a kid, Camp Lewis Perkins counselor joined us to share more about Girl Scouts Summer Camp opportunities!

  • Girl Scouts visit Barnes Air National Guard Base

    During their visit, the girls met and talked to women air National Guard members who do the same jobs as men.

    The Girl scouts donate the cookies through “Project Care and Share,” which teaches the girls about giving, helping others, and learning important life skills.

  • Girl Scouts Conceive, Design, Build, and Test Solar Cars

    On Saturday, April 26, the Diversity Programs Office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst ran a Girl Scout workshop on renewable energy in which Scouts from western Massachusetts learned about various forms of energy, looked at diverse sorts of renewable energy, and watched informative energy videos. For their crowning achievement, they even constructed their own model solar automobiles.