NEWINGTON - Girl Scouts celebrated each otherâ€™s work this week at the townâ€™s annual awards ceremony, a chance for girls to receive the recognition of which they never ask.
â€śItâ€™s been a good year; they all worked hard,â€ť Newington service unit manager Regina James said before the ceremony began in Newington Town Hall Monday evening.
Martin Kellogg Middle School eighth-grader Emma Walker was among three girls to receive a Silver Award this year. A member of Troop 10505, Walkerâ€™s project garnered inspiration from her very own neighborhood.
Waiting at the bus stop for school in the morning, she would always peer over into Banks Corner Park, at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Buckingham Street.
â€śI noticed there was a lot of trash there,â€ť Walker remembered. â€śI wanted to take care of my community but also take care of the environment.â€ť
She and her dad refurbished the parkâ€™s entrance sign and she recruited her Scout-friends to help pick up the grounds.
â€śNo one ever sees this park because itâ€™s so small, but I think now that itâ€™s cleaned up people will notice it more,â€ť Emma said.
Fellow Troop 10505 member Rebekah Bailly organized a celebration of World Down Syndrome Day in Newington schools. She also raised money to buy 21 books about the condition, to donate to the Lucy Robbins Welles Library.
â€śMy brother has Down syndrome,â€ť Bailly explained of her motivation for the project.
Brianna Norton, the third Silver Award recipient, raised funds to make creative care packages for homeless people.
Four girls from Troop 10547 received Bronze Awards for a project they completed together. Madeline Glaude, Emily Gillman, Mariyah Paledino and Leah Turner focused on raising awareness about human pollution to waterways. They started by learning about the problem from environmental experts and put their research online for people to check out. They also created a presentation about the impact of straws, plastic and Styrofoam on marine life.
â€śWeâ€™re working hard to preserve and better our planet,â€ť Madeline told Mondayâ€™s audience. â€śWe only have one.â€ť
The most prestigious honor a Senior Girl Scout can earn is the Gold Award. This yearâ€™s recipient was Justine Strom, who connected her Gold Award project with projects already completed for her Silver and Bronze journeys. She focused on the Stanley-Whitman House in Farmington, a historical property where sheâ€™s been volunteering.
â€śHaving worked in that community for a few years I really fell in love with it and I wanted to dedicate my Gold Award to giving back there,â€ť Justine said.
She created an interactive exhibit about its beautiful gardens, to be experienced by visitors during bad weather when they wouldnâ€™t be able to tour this special feature of the museum property.
Scout mentor Gail Myers helped Justine along her Gold Award journey, which requires more than 80 hours of work.
â€śOnly 5.5 percent of eligible Girl Scouts receive the Gold Award,â€ť Myers pointed out. â€śItâ€™s not one celebratory moment, but a lifetime commitment.â€ť
Families and other Newington Girl Scout troops joined honorees at the event.
â€śWe encourage all of the scouts to participate,â€ť James said. â€śMaybe it will inspire them to go for their own award.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or email@example.com.
On a side note:
The Boy Scouts of America organization recently announced it will change its name to Scouts BSA, after declining membership led leaders to open up registration to girls. Newington service unit manager Regina James shared her stance on this Monday evening: â€śI think Girl Scouts is the best organization for girls,â€ť James said. â€śWeâ€™ve been around for 100 years. Itâ€™s the best place for a girl to gain the confidence she needs to become a leader.â€ť