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  • Girl Scout leaders cool to BSA ‘one-stop’

    Local Girl Scout administrators are not happy with ongoing discussions Boy Scouts across the country are having about whether to begin offering more programs for girls.

    Beginning in April and at its annual meeting in Florida the end of May, the Boy Scouts of America started discussing the concept as a way to be a “one-stop shop” for both boys and girls for today’s busy parents.

    Boy Scout councils are holding meetings to get feedback from their volunteers and parents to send to the national office.

    Effie Delimarkos, spokesperson for the BSA, in an email Tuesday, said the discussions are based on numerous requests from families.

    “The Boy Scouts of America has been exploring the benefits of bringing Scouting to every member of the family – boys and girls. No decisions have been made,” she said. “The BSA believes in the benefit of single-gender programs. But in evaluating the possibility of serving the whole family, we’ve been having conversations with our members and volunteers to see how to make Scouting accessible for families.”

    She pointed out that BSA has for a long time offered programs such as Venturing, Sea Scouts, Exploring and STEM Scouts that serve boys and girls.

    Jeff Hotchkiss, executive director and CEO of the Mohegan Council in Worcester, said the council discussed the matter at a meeting in August. He said the volunteers thought the concept should be pursued.

    “The response across the nation is that 75 percent lik...

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  • Girl Scouts seeking nominations for 'ToGetHerThere' Awards

    The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts will present new awards honoring five professionals in Western Massachusetts, so nominations for "champions for the next generation of female leaders" are needed.

    "With the ToGetHerThere Awards we want to recognize the outstanding people within our community who are doing the work to empower the next generation of leaders," said Dana K. Carnegie, communications manager. "By doing this, we are letting young women in our community know that they have people who stand behind them and believe in their power to lead. We want to recognize community members that girls can look up to, aspire to and connect with at some point. We want to show the next generation they can make a difference."

    The ToGetHerThere Awards give area businesses and organizations the opportunity to honor a woman who makes a difference from within their ranks who has shown exceptional achievement in her profession, is an inspiration to her co-workers and young women and has made contributions to their communities. The nominated person must signify role model behavior in their professional career and represent the Girl Scout's mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character - someone who make the world a better place.

    Acting a...

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  • At Girl Scout bridging ceremony, ‘courageous and strong’ holds deep meaning

    CLINTON - With a packed audience of more than 125 family members and friends cheering them on, Girl Scouts of Clinton and Lancaster marked an important rite of passage on June 1 at St. John’s gym in Clinton, as 54 girls crossed the bridge to the next level of Scouting.

    A highlight of the 90-minute ceremony was the presentation of the second annual Liberty Arnold-Simon Memorial Award for Bravery to 8-year-old Brownie Girl Scout Madeline Dempsey of Clinton. The award, in memory of Daisy Girl Scout Liberty Arnold-Simon of Clinton who died of DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) in December 2015 at age 5, recognizes girls who embody one particular line of the Girl Scout Law, the promise to be “courageous and strong.”

  • Girl Scout Voices Count Survey

    Your voice matters! During the month of April, Girl Scouts of the USA is polling members about their Girl Scout experiences.

    We care about your experience, and we want to hear from you. GSUSA's national survey is called "Girl Scout Voices Count." We will use your feedback to enhance our services and programs, so we thank you in advance for your participation.

    Make sure to watch your email, including your junk email folder, for the "Girl Scout Voices Count" survey! As a thank-you, everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a raffle to win one of 20 $50 gift cards. We can’t wait for you to make your voice count!

    Got questions? For more info, email

  • Brownies ‘race like girls’ at Pinewood Derby spinoff

    As the Brown Fox edged out the Cheese Car in the final stretch, a row of third-grade girls holding signs that read “Race Like a Girl” erupted in cheers. Such was the scene repeated over and over with 22 creatively designed cars at the first Powder Puff Derby held by Brownie Troop 40165 at Camp Green Eyrie in Harvard last Sunday.

  • Like Thin Mints? Worcester

    Next month you can get your fix of Thin Mints and Samoas cookies as the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts team up with local chefs for "Fork It Over," a cookie culinary fundraising event.

    Delightful Girl Scout cookie flavors will get mixed in with other ingredients to become original appetizers and desserts before a panel of judges and guests...

  • InFocus: 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies

    One of the most important fundraisers for the Girl Scouts is now underway….the iconic annual cookie sale.  The cookie sale program celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

    This week’s guests are Pattie Hallberg, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, and Lily Brown, a Girl Scout Ambassador and senior at Ludlow High School. They will talk about the importance of Girl Scouts and the cookie sales.

    Be sure to watch our CEO and one of our wonderful ambassador discuss our cookie program

  • The Flavor of Fundraising

    The morning may have been bitter cold, but Girl Scout leaders and supporters were just getting warmed up for the upcoming cookie season during the annual Girl Scout Cookie Drop held at the Palmer K-Mart Plaza on Saturday, Jan. 7.

    As Brandi Barcomb of Hampden, a product program specialist for the Girl Scouts looked on as the sun rose that day, Maria Matys of Girl Scout Troop 11940 in Warren checked in drivers who lined up alongside trailers already parked there. With the help of volunteers from the Key Club at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, as well as other Girl Scouts and their supporters, cases and cases of Do-si-dos, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Trefoils and more were loaded into the waiting vehicles for distribution to troops throughout the region

  • It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

    The Telegram in Worcester has a number of great photos for out Cookie Drop in Worcester! It was a great way to start our cookie season!

  • Diaper pantry looking for Partners

    A local Girl Scout, Emily Schexnaydre of Lancaster, is also collecting diapers in Clinton and Lancaster.
    "I heard about (a similar) Girl Scout project and thought it would be a good project for the community," Emily said. After announcing the drive on Facebook, Emily has received some donations.
    Her goal is to collect 1,600 diapers by mid-December.
    "People can donate diapers at one of our locations at Shaw's in Clinton, The Clinton Town Hall or at the Lancaster library," Emily added.
    The Museum of Russian Icons is holding a diaper drive during the month of November. The museum is the next-door neighbor of the church.

  • Northborough Girl Scouts collecting jeans for homeless

    NORTHBOROUGH --- Maeve Grandpre and Anna Long are on a mission to collect 1000 pairs of jeans to encourage the homeless.

    The girls, who are in the eighth grade, are collecting jeans, jean skirts, jean jackets and jean shorts are part of their Girl Scout Silver Award project. Anna is a student at St. Bernadette's School and Maeve attends Melican Middle School.

    Inspired by the campaign Jeans for Teens from the organization, the jean collection is the first part of their project.

    Jeans are among the most popular articles of clothing for young people and can be worn several times before needing to be washed. The girls also observed that jeans are some of the most frequently requested items by homeless children and teens.

    The girls are collecting jeans of any size and color, with a goal of collecting 1000 items before December 9.

  • Hundreds of girls go 'geek' on the WPI campus

    WORCESTER - Part of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s campus was taken over Saturday by girls interested in science who examined brains in jars, interacted with robots, held part of the core of an asteroid in their hands and made bracelets to match their own DNA.

    More than 430 Girl Scouts in Grades 4-8 from Central and Western Massachusetts converged on the WPI campus to celebrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the Geek Is Glam (GIG) STEM Expo. WPI has hosted the event every year since its inception four years ago and it grows in popularity each year, according to its organizers.

    “WPI is an amazing collaborator, and it’s a beautiful campus for the girls to walk on,” Dana K. Carnegie, community relations manager for the Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts, said. “They come on campus wide-eyed and ready and they’re not really sure what’s about to happen and it’s so fantastic for us to see because we know they’re minds are going to be exposed to the best scientific and engineering minds in the community.”

    The day-long interactive event is geared towards girls in Grades 4 through 8, event coordinator Tammy J. Breen said, because it is around the time when girls go into middle school that their interest in science often begins to drop off.

    More than 80 organizers and nearly 200 volunteers help run the event, she said. Many of them and the girls make plans to come back the following year before the day is through,...

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  • Seen@ the 'Fork It Over' Girl Scouts fundraiser at the Delaney House

    An estimated 200 guests attended the annual 'Fork It Over' Girl Scouts culinary contest at the Delaney House in Holyoke Tuesday. The event featured area chefs creating an original dessert or appetizer using Girl Scout cookies.

    This year, seven establishments competed for the title of best dessert or appetizer. Participants included: Café Evolution, of Florence; Chandler's Restaurant, in South Deerfield; The Gateway City Bistro, in Holyoke; Herrell's Ice Cream, of Northampton; Holyoke Community College; Papps Bar & Grill, of Westfield; and Pete's Sweets, of East Longmeadow.

  • Williamstown: Girl Scouts to dedicate 'Buddy Bench'

    Junior Girl Scout Troop 12940 will dedicate a "buddy bench" it has donated to Williamstown Elementary School at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, prior to the school's annual open house for families.

    A buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. A child feeling lonely or needing a playmate sits on the bench as a signal to the other children to come play with him or her.

  • Chefs asked to imagine Girl Scout cookies into culinary creations at Holyoke fundraiser

    HOLYOKE -- Filet mignon a la Thin Mints could be interesting. Or perhaps a plate of Do-Si-Dos as a bed for shrimp sauteed in lemon butter.

    The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts are asking local chefs to create dishes that include the famous cookies in the "Fork It Over" fundraiser to help the organization.

    The event will be Sept. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Delaney House on 1 Country Club Way, off Route 5.

  • Girl Scout Gold Award: Scouts say lessons learned last a lifetime

    HOLYOKE –Anne G. Stengle acknowledges that going from costume design to rattlesnake biologist, the skill set transferred is limited; however being able to sew has allowed her to refurbish much of her field equipment.

    What she has taken with her as Stengle shifted from plans to pursue a career in costume design to becoming one of the five female rattlesnake biologists in the United States and part of the "Rattlesnake Island" project to protect the endangered timber rattlesnakes in Massachusetts are the skills she honed as a Girl Scout.

    Though her Gold Award – Girl Scouting's highest achievement – was the creation of an authentic Civil War-era costume to donate to a museum, in Scouting she learned that knowing when to work independently and when to work as a team is critical.

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of honoring Girl Scouts with the Gold Award, and for many Gold Award earners, their efforts are still impacting their own lives and beyond.

  • Recent Mohawk grad gets top award in Girl Scouts

    The Girl Scout who arranged for 300 Mohawk Trail Regional School students and staff to learn hands-only CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver and how to use automated defibrillators recently earned the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve.

    It’s called the Gold Award, and Emma Guyette of Buckland ended her senior year at Mohawk with an awards ceremony in the Massachusetts State House and a celebration of Western and Central Massachusetts Girl Scouts in Holyoke.

  • Recent Mohawk grad gets top award in Girl Scouts

    BUCKLAND — The Girl Scout who arranged for 300 Mohawk Trail Regional School students and staff to learn hands-only CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver and how to use automated defibrillators recently earned the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve.

    It’s called the Gold Award, and Emma Guyette of Buckland ended her senior year at Mohawk with an awards ceremony in the Massachusetts State House and a celebration of Western and Central Massachusetts Girl Scouts in Holyoke.

    Guyette was the only Girl Scout in Franklin County to win the award this year, according to Dana Carnegie, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

  • Hadley Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

    HADLEY — Three 18-year-old young women from Hadley this week received Girl Scouting’s highest honor, the Gold Award, in conjunction with its 100th anniversary.

    The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts presented the awards to Kathleen Kuzmeski, Emily Koehler and Aldona Noonan, after they worked more than two years on their Gold projects. Each spent time researching, networking and preparing their projects to be presented at local schools.

    The Gold Award is presented to less then 6 percent of all Girl Scouts, according to community relations manager Dana Carnegie, who said it is “every bit as prestigious as an Eagle Scout,” which is the highest rank conferred on Boy Scouts.

    In addition to being the Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the award is also a potential path for women to get scholarships as they move toward college, and can allow them to jump up a rank if they enter the military.

  • Wahconah Grad Earns Girl Scout Gold Award

    PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts will honor Colleen Kiely of Pittsfield for her demonstrated leadership ability and dedication to serving her community.

    Kiely has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award and will be among the guests of honor at a celebration at Mill One at Open Square in Holyoke on Tuesday, June 14, at 5:30 p.m. Annaka Paradis, current Smith College Student and 2015 Recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, will give the keynote address.

    Kiely just graduated with the Class of 2016 from Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton and plans to attend UMass-Amherst in the fall to study biochemistry and molecular biology.

    Her Gold Award project is "Protecting the Piping Plovers."

  • Buddy Bench Encourages Inclusion, Better Friendships

    LONGMEADOW – In an effort to promote friendships and encourage tolerance, a group of 10 fourth-graders at Wolf Swamp Road School are raising money for the installation of a Buddy Bench at the school. The students, who are all part of Girl Scout Troop 11657, are working toward their Bronze Awards. To achieve this honor, they must complete a community service project that will benefit the community permanently. One of the girl’s mothers is part of the Wolf Swamp PTO, and she mentioned how that group had been discussing the merits of a Buddy Bench at Wolf Swamp. A Buddy Bench is a bench for students to sit when they are lonely and are looking for a friend. If a child is feeling lonely or left out, and he or she sits on the bench, the goal is for other children to acknowledge this need and address it. According to Troop Leader Zairy Major, they are hoping the bench encourages friendships and the importance of treating others kindly. The girls presented their idea to Wolf Swamp Principal Dr. Neil Gile, who supports the project. The school’s Social Emotional Learning Committee is recommending the Girl Scouts transform an existing bench, which would alleviate the need to purchase another bench. This reduces the amount of funds the Girl Scouts must raise to complete the project. The fundraising goal for the bench is approximately $300. To raise the funds they need, the Girl Scouts will host a bake sale on Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brightwood Hardwa...

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  • Women’s commission hears testimony in Northampton

    NORTHAMPTON — Tackling topics ranging from video-recorded strip searches to Islamophobia, 12 local women activists and leaders testified before the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women during a well-attended hearing in the City Council chambers on Tuesday.

    Scattered throughout the speakers’ testimony was support for legislation that would form two regional versions of the statewide commission – the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and the Hampshire/Franklin Counties Commission on the Status of Women. The Pioneer Valley corridor joins disparate patches in eastern Massachusetts as areas that remain so far unrepresented by such regional commissions.

  • Fig & Pigs, Vintage Grille win top spots for Girl Scout cookie dishes

    WORCESTER – Figs & Pigs and Vintage Grille took the top spots for their savory and sweet adaptations of Girl Scout cookies at Thursday's Fork It Over event.

    The judges picked Figs & Pigs Samoas-inspired Vietnamese caramel pork as the best savory dish and Vintage Grille's crème anglaise milk shake as the best sweet dish.

    Peppercorns came in second and won people's choice for their Samoas shrimp cake with crispy bacon and grilled pineapple. The second place sweet dish was Niche Hospitality's Girl Scout cannoli blossom.

    Nine total chefs participated in the Fork It Over event to benefit the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. The Beechwood Hotel hosted the annual event that encourages local chefs to put a twist on the classic cookies.

  • Two Workshops Teach Girl Scouts About the Fun and Fascinating World of Chemistry, Electronics, and Engineering

    During the last two weekends in January, College of Engineering faculty and students were involved in two separate workshops that used exciting, educational, and entertaining projects to inform Girls Scouts about the rudiments of chemistry, electronics, and engineering. Some of the products included the gooiest substance since the Ghostbusters got slimed and jewelry that lights up like fireflies on an August night.

    Over the weekend of January 23 and 24, Sarah Perry of the Chemical Engineering Department collaborated with Anne Gershenson of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and UMass Amherst Pastry Chef Simon Stevenson in a Girl Scout outreach event in Holyoke. The event attracted 11 girls, ranging from second to fourth grade, from the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. It was billed as “the most OOEY, GOOEY, fantastically SLIMEY program yet.”

    What Girl Scout could resist this invitation to the event? “Join UMass Professor Perry, Professor Gershenson, and Chef Simon as they show girls how to make OOBLECK (a mixture of corn starch and water), then experiment with it! What do pizza dough, walking on water, dropping eggs, and OOEY, GOOEY, fantastically SLIMEY oobleck have in common?!”

    As Professor Perry said, “Our activities focused around understanding complex fluids. We first discussed the difference between liquids and solids and then discussed examples of materials that are kind of both. I had a ...

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  • Learning the digital economy, the Girl Scout way

    Not too long ago, getting Girl Scout cookies to out-of-state friends and family involved buying and shipping them out yourself. But today, Thin Mints and Samoas are just a click away.

    The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts council is in its second year using Digital Cookie, an Internet portal for cookie ordering created with the idea of introducing girls to safe online business practices. Using a digital platform has allowed Girl Scouts in the Central and Western Massachusetts council to sell more easily to their friends and family, some of whom live as far away as California.

    Selling cookies has always been about teaching Girl Scouts confidence and business skills, and this is a digital extension of that, said Sara Rowan, director of program for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

    "With the world of e-commerce these days, having our girls as young as Daisies and Brownies -- kindergarten, first grade, second grade -- being able to be online with their parents or their guardians, almost setting up a little shop online, it's just a fun, unique thing that the girls get to do," Rowan said.

    Digital economy

    By launching Digital Cookie, the Girl Scouts are now part of the constantly shifting digital narrative. This is in some sense a sign that electronic retail is now the center of business, rather than on the outside, said Catherine Tucker, the Sloan distinguished professor of management and professor...

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  • Cookie Cargo

    WORCESTER - Girl Scout Olivia Brocku, 17, of Uxbridge, at left, and Matoaca Hardy-Fletcher of Charlton, an employee of Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts, load cases of Girl Scout cookies behind the Showcase Cinemas on Brooks Street for the Girl Scouts' annual Cookie Drop on Saturday. Girl Scouts, troop leaders, staff and volunteers gathered in several locations to unload almost 50,000 cases of cookies for the Girl Scout cookie sales program.

  • Girl Scouts buoyed by digital sales of cookies

    WORCESTER - As long as there are girls and as long as there are caring adults, there are going to be Girl Scouts, insists Colleen Holmes.

    Ms. Holmes is the chief membership and strategy officer at the Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts, which covers Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, Worcester counties and a tiny northwestern part of Middlesex County.

    While national membership numbers have been trending downward, locally they have been on the rebound the last couple of years, Ms. Holmes said.

    Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the United States of America, said the national Scouts hope to rebuild ranks through technological improvements, including a major expansion of its year-old program "Digital Cookie," enabling Girl Scout cookies to be sold via mobile apps and the girls' personal websites.

    In December 2014, the Girl Scouts launched “Digital Cookie 1.0,” the organization’s first-ever national digital platform, which gave nearly 160,000 girls the opportunity to sell cookies via a website or mobile app. More than 350,000 orders were placed using the “Digital Cookie” platform, driving the sale of nearly 2.5 million additional boxes of cookies, according to the Girl Scouts organization.

    Worcester Girl Scouts Trinity Millett and Alexis Guertin are both big fans of “Digital Cookie.”

    “I feel that it will keep everything organized for cookie season, because it tracks all the cookies you sell a...

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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.