Medford Girl Scouts will be honored with two awards at the upcoming Volunteer Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Jenna LaBissoniere will receive the Honor Pin for outstanding service and Medford Girl Scouts will receive the President’s Award for surpassing our goals and having a significant, measurable impact on Girl Scouts in Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA).
President’s Award – Medford Girl Scout Service Unit
Medford’s volunteers and troops have creatively adapted to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic to ensure that the girls can continue to rely on their troops, and on Girl Scouts, as a place to have fun, try new things, serve the community, and support each other. We retained 69.5% of our girl memberships this year (which was higher than the council average of 56.4%) as well as 73% of our adult volunteers. In addition, we recruited a higher-than-average number of new girl and adult members this year. In fact, only four Service Units in Eastern Massachusetts recruited more adult volunteers!
Cookie sales have been steadily increasing in Medford. Cookie sales totals for the past few years were: $179,700 in 2017-2018, $218,930 in 2018-2019 and $246,245 in 2019-2020. In the last two years, that’s a year over year gain of $27,315. In the 2019-2020 season, Medford was the top cookie selling community in GSEMA, beating out the second community by $4,200 in sales. 86.5% of registered girls participated in 2019-2020.
Cookie sales were down a bit this year, but we successfully pivoted to virtual and socially distanced booths, and online sales. Direct ship orders grew by over 500% in Medford from 2,336 last year to 14,878 this year and, as of early February, the city-wide Virtual Cookie Booth on medfordgirlscouts.org had received more than 160 orders and sold more than 1,100 packages of cookies in total since the cookie sale began. Medford was also the 9th highest selling community in GSEMA for the fall product cookie, nuts, and magazine sale.
Throughout the pandemic, Medford Girl Scouts have been active in the community helping with service projects like trash pick-ups and making care packages for the elderly in senior living communities. Troops and girls even found ways to work on their Bronze and Silver Award projects through the pandemic with projects involving community gardening, effective recycling, helping grow Medford’s tree canopy, and addressing issues of racial bias in the public-school curriculum.
Congratulations to all of Medford’s adult volunteers and girls! This award is for our effort as a community to come together and thrive as Medford Girl Scouts.
Honor Pin – Jenna LaBissoniere
Jenna has a huge, positive impact on her Cadette Troop 69039 and on Medford Girl Scouts a whole. As the city-wide Events Coordinator, she is as a resource for troops who want to plan events and she is the contact person when the City of Medford, the Elks, or other groups would like to invite Medford Girl Scouts to participate in their events, such as Memorial and Patriot’s Day events. Jenna and her Co-Troop Leader, Lynda Panico, also take the lead in organizing the annual city-wide Bridging Ceremony.
As one of Medford’s two New Leader Mentors, Jenna leads orientation sessions for new leaders to welcome them to the Medford Girl Scouts and answer any questions they might have. She also makes herself readily available to answer questions as they arise, as well as to join troop meetings to sign CORIs and help lead parent orientations. She is a consistent, friendly, and informative presence that troop leaders know they can rely on for support. She’s been in this role since it was created, having migrated to it after service as the Medford Troop Pathway Orientation Leader for several years before that. Jenna knows the likely questions a new leader is going to have and is prepared with the answers.
As a Cookie Booth Coordinator, Jenna is responsible for being the liaison to local businesses to ask them if they are willing to have cookie booths on their property. This year, Jenna had to start from scratch finding locations because almost all of the locations where we had booths last year wouldn’t let us have booths again this year, or weren’t suitable for contactless and drive-through locations. Jenna worked quickly to find places that would work with the pandemic restrictions.
Jenna is a warm, calm, and inclusive leader. Her willingness to be a sister to every Girl Scout shines brightly as she shares her knowledge and experience as Girl Scout volunteer with others. She is friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, and lives the Girl Scout Promise and Law through all that she does. Congratulations Jenna!