September 2020

Just a Pause

Yes, you are right it has been a while, six months to be exact, since the last issue of this blog. As my readers, you know the content of this blog centers around reporting on visits with Girl Scouts. I abandoned this monthly missive when the content got, understandably, a little skimpy. I will catch you up in this issue and then continue to publish every other month for the time being. The last few months have been difficult – I don’t need to tell any of you that – full of twists and turns, heartbreak and joy, and general intrusions into our “normal.” I count these months among the most difficult in my professional career. It would be easy for me to become discouraged but quite frankly none of you would let me.

The minute schools closed there you were, on Zoom meetings, figuring out how to get cookie donations to first responders like nurses, doctors, firefighters, police, nursing home staff, and even truck drivers. You remembered everyone. You cheered on your communities creating chalk walks with positive messages and community Easter egg hunts you could do from a car. You knew the people in nursing homes needed you and you made meal tray treats, wrote letters, videotaped skits, and made them feel loved. And the masks! You dusted off those sewing machines and made masks for anyone and everyone who needed them. You are my joy and inspiration, my daily fuel that helps me put one foot in front of the other and meet the challenges of today without dread but with the enthusiasm and grit of a Girl Scout. My deepest thanks to all of you.  

Our first-ever VIRTUAL Women of Distinction 2020!

We have re-imagined our Women of Distinction Awards as a virtual event this year! Join me as we celebrate our honorees on Tuesday, September 22 from 4-5pm – and the registration is freeWe are honoring some amazing women, girls and organizations!

Don’t miss out on a unique opportunity! Purchase Tin to Win raffle tickets and get a chance to win some fabulous prizes like a Michael Kors purse, a $250 gift card to Legacy Village, and more! Join the fun AND support Girl Scout scholarships and financial aid. Sales close Monday September 7, 2020 at Noon.  

Gold Award Celebration

On July 19 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron, GSNEO celebrated our 2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts. Our 2020 class included 40 outstanding young women who demonstrated extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take Action projects that showcased a sustainable impact. They tackled issues that were dear to them to drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.  
In previous years, this event boasted upwards of 400 guests, while this year’s event had a significantly smaller audience of 80 guests. We were able to create a socially-distanced, safe space for our girls and their two guests to celebrate in-person, with a virtual watch party option through Zoom for the rest of their loved ones to cheer them on! Even our keynote speaker, Mary Lobo contributed a riveting virtual speech—which of course was a first for us! Girls were able to walk the stage and be pinned by their special someone, while we shared their amazing feats. The event was truly energizing, and we hope our girls and guests had just as much fun as we did.  

Bridging To Adult

When Cathy Livingston, Troop Leader for two troops and a Troop Administrator for another, called to ask if I would help with a bridging ceremony for her daughter from girl to adult, the answer was an easy yes.  Kaitlyn is an accomplished Girl Scout who I got to know when we both served as National Delegates at the Columbus National Convention. The bridge at Camp Ledgewood served as a beautiful picture spot for this ceremony that marks an end but also a new beginning as a college student studying music at Youngstown State, and hopefully, an adult Girl Scout Volunteer.  

Nordonia Service Unit Bridging

Thank you to Tammy Guy and the whole Nordonia Service Unit for inviting me to their special bridging ceremony at Camp Ledgewood honoring all their bridging Girl Scouts and especially Gold Award Girl Scout Julia Zaborszki who was bridging to adult. It was an honor to be present at the bridging ceremony to celebrate the end of her 13 year “girl” adventures, and the beginning of her “adult” Girl Scout journey. The service unit spread out and used the new ceremony space at the Welcome Plaza at Camp Ledgewood and decorated the bridge, created unique signage for each age level, and even wrote a skit to kick things off. Thanks for inviting me to this wonderful event.  

Bridging in a Movie Theater

Challenging times call for creative solutions and Troop 90094 took the adage “the show must go on” literally! Thanks to Troop 90094 and Diane DeStefano for a unique and fun bridging ceremony at Atlas Movie Theater. They maintained their distance and families had the chance to present their girls with new uniforms badges and patches. They capped off the day with popcorn and a movie of course! 

Sarah and Joyce

Green bloods Sarah and Joyce and Sarah Ely paid a visit to Camp Ledgewood to see the bricks they donated for the new plaza. The brick commemorated three generations of deep involvement in Girl Scouts as members, volunteers, and supporters. It also doesn’t take much encouragement to turn me into a full-blown tour guide and take them to see a lot of the other wonderful improvements at camp. They both pledged to return as volunteers to give something back to the organization that gave them so much. Want to learn more about Joyce and Sarah’s story?  Check out YouTube:  Our Handmade Hero: Joyce.  Want to honor someone with a brick like Joyce and Sarah did? Honor someone here

Cookies Donated to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

Because of the generosity of an anonymous donor, a whopping 6,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies were donated to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Troop 90094 members Raine and Emma Tranthem helped with the delivery along with members of the local National Guard. Fun fact, all the Guard members helping that day were female and all were Girl Scouts. Way to go Girl Scout sisters! 

We all miss Camp

I know we all miss camp but rest assured progress continues on important projects. Check out this [center picture] bird’s eye view snapped from the top of Seiberling Cabin at Camp Ledgewood. You might remember that this cabin now includes a “hammock village”, with hammocks that can be used inside and out. Inside, hammocks are strung between hammock stands. This is how the outside will look when a full group of 22 girls sleep out under the stars.   

We are fixing an area behind Tall Timbers at Camp Timberlane that will take care of an erosion issue, other works included: improved drainage to improve paths and trails around camp.  

Check out the new Camp Sugarbush sign [bottom left]! And another picture from Camp Sugarbush, too cute not to share. Makes me want to go out and hit the trails. Speaking of hitting the trails, day passes are available at all camps which are a great way for you and your family to visit camp! 

And they’re Baaack!

The flock has returned from Spicy Lamb Farm to Camp Ledgewood. This year we are hosting 26 ewes, one ram, and an alpaca. You can spot them by the road or near the lake where they are fed. They were all just sheared when I took their picture earlier this year, so they aren’t very fluffy, but they are still cute. 

Troop 91322’s Blood Drive

Heather Radecky, Troop Leader 91322 and the girls in her troop approached GSNEO more than a year ago to assist them with their blood drive. The drive was the culmination of a year-long effort to earn their Bronze Award and they wanted to use the Macedonia building to host a blood drive. We quickly agreed and then COVID19 happened. The Red Cross instituted additional safety precautions and limited the number of individuals at each drive to ensure social-distancing. The need was so great because the Red Cross has had to cancel more than 90% of its drives in the spring because the locations it normally uses were closed. At the same time, the need for blood was critical! The girls were not deterred by all the plans they had to change because of the pandemic. They persisted and pulled off a wonderful community project. They also created this great video that played in the recovery area while we all munched on Girl Scout Cookies. The video highlighted the need for blood drives and their inspiration! 

Take a Positivity Break

Like many organizations, GSNEO has had a slow return to work in our offices. It was so heartwarming to see that some wonderful Girl Scouts took the time to chalk some messages of cheer and welcome at all four GSNEO service centers. I personally was touched by their kindness and creativity. Thanks to Troop Leaders Betsy Pajak, Wendy Gibson, Kelly Joseph, and Heather Radecky for coordinating the efforts of over 40 girls at all four GSNEO Service Centers!  

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