Bridging is a beloved Girl Scout tradition that honors girls’ achievements throughout the year and celebrates their “crossing the bridge” to the next Girl Scout level. We are excited to celebrate all our Medford troops’ accomplishments as they bridge up to the next level.
The following troops participated in the Citywide Bridging Ceremony on June 15, 2022 at the McGlynn Middle School. Special thanks to Julia Maggiacomo, Co-Leader of Troop 67706, for organizing the joyful event!
Medford Girl Scouts’ cookies sales bounced back to their 2020 high after dipping down last year during the pandemic. In total, Medford sold 48,441 packages of cookies this year, which is a 22.5% increase over last year’s total of 39,532. 307 girls participated in the cookie sale this year, up from 245 last year.
Medford’s cookie sale accomplishments contributed to Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA) setting a new PGA (per girl average) record of 140 packages. GSEMA also reported that “the new Adventurefuls became the fourth most popular cookie in the lineup this year following Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties. Through the Cookies for a Cause donation program, customers donated nearly 54,000 packages of cookies to first responders, healthcare workers, teachers, hunger relief groups, and military organizations.”
Congratulations to 1st Grade Daisy Troop 83400 for being Medford’s top selling troop this year. This was only their second year selling cookies!
Top 5 selling troops
Daisy Troop 83400 – 4,344
Cadette Troop 69039 – 3,924
Brownie Troop 67708 – 2,554
Senior Troop 68137 – 2,337
Junior Troop 62974 – 2,280
Top Selling Girls and Members of 500 Club*
Olivia M – Troop 83400 – 878
Shayna H – Troop 72103-805
Karley K- Troop 62969 -703
Emily M – Troop 64366 – 679
Jenny O – Troop 65007 – 629
Trinity L – Troop 72096 – 614
Abby L – Troop 65007– 522
Meredith D – Troop 83400 -515
Sophia L – Troop 69039 – 514
Bethiah P – Troop 68137 – 514
Evelyn P – Troop 83400 – 512
Mikalin B – Troop 69039 – 504
Reanna P – Troop 69039 – 502
* Girls who sell at least 500 packages of cookies in Eastern Massachusetts are members of the 500 Club. This year, 500 Club members could either receive 2 tickets to Canobie Lake Park on June 5 (rain date June 12) and charms for their charm bracelet, or a cozy kit featuring koala slippers, a blanket and a sleep mask.
The following new leaders received the Green and Growing Award. This award is for leaders and assistant troop leaders who have lead a troop for less than two years, who have completed their required trainings, participated in at least one Medford Girl Scout or GSEMA event or program, participated in the cookie sale, welcomed new members to the troop.
● Sarah Harvey – Daisy Troop 64390 and Brownie Troop 70206 ● Lisa Kingsley and Catherine Mather – Daisy Troop 64389 ● Christine Murphy and Stacey Purcell – Daisy Troop 64376 ● Iris Salazar – Daisy Troop 64361 ● Caroline Robison – Brownie Troop 69166
In addition, the following Medford leaders were awarded the Volunteer of Excellence pin for going above and beyond their troop roles to help support Medford Girl Scouts and GSEMA.
● Jen Breneisen and Lisa Cohen – for being Service Unit Membership Promoters ● Jen Pierce and Kim Olivieri – for being the New Leader Mentors
Special congratulations also goes to Monique O’Connell for being awarded the prestigious Thanks Badge from Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. In addition to her roles as a local troop leader, Service Unit Treasurer and Cookie Coordinator, and regional and national delegate, Crystal Cruz (GSEMA Manager of Risk and Volunteer Safety) noted that “Monique further expands her volunteer support reach and council leadership reach in her roles as safety consultant and travel consultant. Monique has acted as a subject-matter expert and council liaison with EF Tours especially during COVID with a graduating troop, all of which have been a challenge for both the local council and national teams to navigate. Monique’s insight has helped to develop and shape GSEMA’s COVID-19 Troop Guidelines, GSUSA’s Pandemic / COVID-19 Guidance, GSUSA’s Travel Playbook, and GSUSA’s “Graduating Seniors and Troop Funds Guidance for trips/travel.”
Thank you as well to the following Outstanding Leadership who were recognized by their troops and fellow leaders : Debbie Hayes, Stacey Purcell, Kerri Babish, Rebecca Scott, Karen Poggi, Jane Hamel, and Jenna LaBissoniere.
Medford Girl Scouts also wants to send out an appreciative shout out to the following community partners. ● St. Raphael’s Parish ● East Cambridge Savings Bank ● Eastern Bank ● Colleen’s Ice Cream Shop
Inspired by what they learned about the human impact of the war in Ukraine, members of Medford Girl Scout Cadette Troop 67712 packed medical supply kits to be sent to the region and collectively decided to donate a portion of their 2022 Girl Scout Cookie sales to Razom for Ukraine.
Troop 67712 from the Andrews Middle School and McGlynn Middle School in Medford, Massachusetts, met on Sunday, March 20, 2022 to sample Ukrainian food and learn about the unrest and the war besieging Ukraine from three guests offering different perspectives.
Timothy Longman, a Boston University professor of political science and Medford resident, provided a quick overview of Ukrainian history and explained the sources of the conflict. Anna Shanley, a Russian immigrant who lives in Medford, and Mariya Sudarska, a Ukrainian immigrant living in Allston, gave personal reflections on the war. Both came to the United States as children but have family back in the region. Ms. Sudarska talked about her family and relatives in Kyiv, Ukraine, who are safe for the moment but living in fear. Ms. Shanley explained that she, like many Russians, had Ukrainian relatives and friends. She reported that many of the people she has spoken with in Russia oppose the war but are afraid to speak out but that others support the invasion, because the government controls the information they receive.
Troop 67712 co-leader Tracy Keene said, “We thought it was necessary for our girls to learn about Ukraine. As we all are witnessing the inhumane saga and war that is occurring, we like so many others, want to show solidarity and do something to help. We thought of a small way to do this was to plan an event with the girls in our troop so they could better understand what they are seeing and hearing regarding the turmoil in this region of the world.”
After the presentations, the girls sampled potato dumplings (varenyky), borscht, sweet tea biscuit (korovka), crepes, pickles, imported fruit juices of sour cherry and birch sap, and other Ukrainian foods and snacks. The girls then put together packets of medical supplies. With monetary donations and donations of supplies of Vinyl Gloves, Surgical Dressing, Butterfly Closures Strips, Band Aids, Gauze Pads, Alcohol Wipes, and Antibiotic Ointment, the troop assembled over 50 medical kits. The troop has partnered with Wellesley Girls Scouts to send a large quantity of medical kits to the Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization. In working with the Wellesley Girl Scouts whose effort is being organized by second-generation Ukrainian and troop leader Tanya Lisowsky, these medical kits will be distributed across Ukraine to help the military and civilians. The troop learned of this project through a connection with Lucy Costa, the Wellesley Girl Scouts Service Unit Coordinator. Ms. Lisowsky has shared that these vacuum packed medical kits will be routed through New Jersey, then Poland, then onto Ukraine. Upon arrival in Ukraine, they will be routed via a “green corridor,” a defined area where there is safe passage of not only humanitarian aid, but civilians fleeing war.
Ms. Lisowsky stated, “The Ukrainian scouts in both the United States and Ukraine are in a unique position to provide immediate support to troops and refugees. If you’d like to learn more about the Ukrainian scouting organization or donate to their efforts, please visit https://aid.plastusa.org. Another way to donate is to shop this amazon wishlist for supplies so that the Scouts in the Boston area can continue to make medical kits.”
Troop leaders Tracy Keene, Diane Cervati, and Patricia Wheeler, all from Medford, organized this troop event in recognition of Girl Scouts World Thinking Day 2022. Established in 1926 by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, World Thinking Day offers troops the opportunity to learn about the world by thinking of each other and to support Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting around the world. With the unrest occurring in Ukraine, troop leaders felt it important and a sense of urgency to have the troop learn about this region, culture, and the unjust war occurring as part of their World Thinking Day project. According to Gwen Wheeler, “The event was important because we need to help others and be a sister to every Girl Scout. I enjoyed learning about Ukraine and tasting their food. I am sad that the Girl Guides there are living in fear and are afraid.”
The girls in the troop have decided to give a portion of their earnings from the 2022 Girl Scouts Cookie season to be sent to Razom for Ukraine (https://razomforukraine.org). Razom was born out of the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 when millions of people worked together and risked their lives to build a pathway to a better future for Ukraine. Razom, which means “together” in Ukrainian, serves as a constant reminder of the community that it takes to create, build and do, to stay the path towards a more prosperous and democratic Ukraine. A matching request will be sent to troop parents to augment the their generous contribution.
Medford Girl Scouts honored the memory of those who served by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the city’s Memorial Day Ceremony on May 31, 2021 at Oak Grove Cemetery. Thanks to all the girls and their families who participated.
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!
We are eighth graders in Girl Scout Troop 68137 from Medford working on our Silver Award project. The Silver Award is a leadership award, centered around tackling an issue in your community, and is the highest honor a Cadette can achieve. Girls seeking the Silver Award need to identify an issue in their community, choose a project that helps address that issue, and complete a minimum of 50 hours of work towards their project. For our Silver Award project, we are partnering with the City of Medford and Trees Medford to roll out an adopt-a-tree program in Medford as well as educate the community about the importance of trees.
Medford’s Urban Canopy is Shrinking
The urban canopy in Medford is shrinking. While the city is trying to rebuild the canopy by planting new trees along streets and in parks, it doesn’t have the resources to water all of the new trees it plants. A newly planted tree requires 10-14 gallons of water per week from May through October in order to survive and thrive in its first three years. Without sufficient water, newly planted trees in Medford will struggle to establish their root systems and may die.
Why are Urban Trees Important?
Building a healthy urban canopy is important for many reasons. Urban trees help cities adapt to climate change. In the summer, trees shade and cool the air around buildings, reducing dependence on air conditioning. In the winter, trees help reduce wind speeds and keep nearby buildings warmer. Trees remove greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, from the air and replenish it with oxygen for us to breathe. Trees also provide many health benefits, improving air quality by capturing dust and pollution particles from dirty city air that can affect human health. Trees bring natural elements and wildlife into urban environments, increasing the quality of life for residents. The more trees and grass in the common spaces of city neighborhoods, the more those spaces are used by residents. This results in more social activities, more knowledge about neighbors, stronger feelings of belonging and the kind of positive social ties that are the very fabric of a healthy neighborhood. Studies have even shown that hospital patients recover from surgery more quickly and require less pain medication when their room has a window that provides a view of trees!
The Adopt-a-Tree Program
The goal of Medford’s adopt-a-tree program is to help ensure that newly-planted city trees in Medford survive and thrive. Through the program, a volunteer pledges to water a tree during its first three years of life so it can grow into a healthy, mature tree.
To promote the new adopt-a-tree program, our team designed a web page on the TreesMedford site detailing the program and providing a webform to sign up to adopt a tree. We created an online map of all trees planted in Medfordbetween 2017 and 2020 to help potential volunteers identify trees near them that are in need of water. We developed an educational workshop about the benefits of trees, and presented to several Girl Scout troops in Medford. We tagged dozens of newly-planted trees with “A New Tree Needs Water” tags encouraging neighbors to adopt the tree. We designed and printed a “This Tree Has Been Adopted” tag and have tagged all of the trees that have already been adopted. We are now working to advertise the Adopt-a-Tree program more broadly and recruit volunteers through flyers and social media.
How You Can Help
If you would like to support our project, and in turn support the environment, we would appreciate if you could adopt a tree! As a volunteer, you would nurture your tree by providing 10 -14 gallons of water each week between the months of May and October. Visit the TreesMedford Adopt-a-Tree page to learn more about the program, see the map of trees needing adoption, and sign-up to water a tree.
Thank you for your support! Claire, Ciara & Merbens – Troop 68137
In this most unusual 2020/21 cookie season, direct ship orders grew by over 500% in Medford from 2,336 last year to 14,878 this year. While a huge leap, it’s not surprising considering that direct ship was the only option when the sale started in November. In addition, perhaps customers preferred to have their cookies delivered to their homes as a way to maintain social distance. Direct ship sales were also given a boost by Medford’s Virtual Cookie Booth, which was open 24/7 throughout the sale on our website, and was hosted by each troop in turn.
Starting in January, troops were allowed to hold contactless and drive-thru cookie booths in Medford but some troops stuck to the online and one-to-one sales methods such as virtual cookie booths and contactless girl delivery orders. Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts never went to “Phase 3” of the sale, which would have allowed for door-to-door sales and additional booth options, nor did they organize any Council Organized Booth Sales (COBS).
Despite these obstacles, Medford’s girls and troops found ways to make it work. The 28 troops that participated in the cookie sale sold 39,569 packages of cookies! While less than last year, that’s still pretty amazing.
In addition to the growth in direct ship orders, Cookie Share (aka C-Share, aka Cookies for Cause) sales also took a leap this year growing over 200% from 322 last year to 1,076 this year. The Cookie Share sales that were processed online through the Smart Cookies website were distributed to front line health care workers and food pantries by Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and many of our Medford troops distributed there Cookies for a Cause to local similar charities such as the caregivers at Winchester Hospital or the Community Cupboard Food Pantry in Medford.
This year’s 5 top selling troops are:
Ambassador Troop 65007 – 3,279
Daisy Troop 83400 – 3,185
Cadette Troop 69039 – 3,155
Junior Troop 62969 – 2,755
Junior Troop 62974 – 2,648
This years top selling Girl Scouts are:
Jennifer (Troop 65007) – 1,509
Abby B (Troop 65007) – 1,015
Teagan (Troop 70207 – 1,001
Kat (Troop 65007) – 755
Shayna (Troop 72103) – 750
In addition to the top sellers, the following seven girls also made it into the 500 Club for selling at least 500 packages:
Bethiah (Troop 68137)
Emily (Troop 67712)
Gianna Rose (Troop 62971)
Karley (Troop 62969)
Meredith (Troop 83400)
Olivia (Troop 83400)
Sophia (Troop 69039)
Special thanks to the local business that allow Medford Girl Scouts to hold cookie booths:
Four of Medford’s volunteers were honored by Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts this year for all their work helping our girls become leaders of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. For concerns of safety, the 2020 Volunteer Recognition Luncheon was cancelled but GSEMA looks forward to finding other ways to recognize the awardees that inspire us, move us, and remind us that Girl Scouting is a movement of hope.
Tracy Longman-Keene – Appreciation Pin
The Appreciation Pin recognizes volunteers actively providing outstanding service in support of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
In addition to being a leader for Junior Troop 67712, Tracy is also a Regional Delegate for Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. This past year, he organized a multi-troop event at Camp Runels at which the girls worked on two civil rights badges (Four Little Girls and Civil Rights History). The troops also earned a Martin Luther King, Jr. patch and patches for Winter Camping, Homeless Awareness, and Wildfire Relief. They also sorted and assembled care packages for the un-housed to be distributed to members of our community who have found themselves without shelter during these winter months.
Always going above and beyond, we are so fortunate to have Tracy among the ranks of Medford Girl Scout leaders with his enthusiasm and creative thinking teaching the girls and supporting the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
Andie Farro and Evalyn O’Rourke – Five Year Sustained Service Award
Five Year Sustained Service Awards recognizes volunteers actively providing service to Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts for five consecutive years since receiving their last formal Girl Scouts of the USA volunteer recognition, and have continued performance at a level that exceeds expectations of her position description.
Andie and Evalyn have been, and continue to be, the cornerstone of Medford Girl Scouts, each having served as Troop Leaders, Troop Cookie Coordinators, Fall Product Sale Coordinators, Medford Encampment Directors and both having done the difficult job of Service Unit Coordinator. It’s hard to talk about one without the other as they work seamlessly as a team pushing our Service Unit to new heights in membership and opportunities. Under their consecutive leadership Medford Girl Scouts has grown and flourished.
This year they served as Co-Encampment Directors, leading the first encampment for the city since 2010. It was a hugely successful weekend at Camp Runels in Pelham, NH in September 2019. Over 17 months of planning, they discussed, surveyed, and organized an overnight for over 160 girls and 45 adults.They created a fantastic itinerary with over 10 activities for the day and evening that met the needs of each level of Girl Scouts. Their attention to safety for all the girls and adults during the encampment was impeccable and impressive and they both work energetically to help leaders and to support the growth of the Service Unit and Girl Scouting. We are so fortunate that they are steering our ship!
Rebecca Scott – Honor Pin
The Girl Scouts of the USA Honor Pin recognizes volunteers actively providing outstanding service in support of the Girl
Scout Leadership Experience in two or more geographic areas.
Rebecca is a Troop Leader for Cadette Troop 68137 and, on a city level, she has been the Membership Promoter, Co-Booth Sale Coordinator and she is the Social Media and Communications Coordinator, managing the Medford Girl Scout Facebook page, website, and leader email list. She also offered her expertise by presenting at the GSEMA Annual Volunteer Conference to help others learn about using Social Media in their Troops and Service Units.
One of the most valuable things Rebecca brings is a sense of ease. Everything is always manageable and doable when talking to Rebecca. She has a way of taking a situation or task that seems overwhelming and breaking it down so that anyone can accomplish it. This is one of the reasons she was an excellent Membership Promoter in the past and it carries forward with everything she does. She shares her knowledge and skills which allows troop leaders to do things for their troops they might not have. Finally, by being so thorough and diligent with sharing information, she has helped enrich the Girl Scout experience for all the adults and girls in Medford. We are so proud that she is receiving this recognition, it is certainly deserved.
Members of Girl Scouts Junior Troop 67712 and Cadette Troop 72102 from the Brooks School, Andrews Middle School and McGlynn Middle School, all in Medford, Massachusetts, honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and learned about the Civil Rights Movement during an overnight winter lodge camping experience on Sunday, January 19 – Monday, January 20, 2020. Troop leaders Tracy Keene, Diane Cervati, Patricia Wheeler, Veronica Hunt and Paul Ruseau, also a member of the Medford School Committee, organized this troop outing at the GSEMA Camp Runels in Pelham, New Hampshire as a learning and service experience.
Troop 67712 co-leader Tracy Keene said, “We thought it was very important for our girls to learn about civil rights during this weekend honoring King’s legacy. The girls worked on two civil rights badges, Four Little Girls and Civil Rights History. They also earned a Martin Luther King, Jr. patch and patches for Winter Camping, Homeless Awareness, and Wildfire Relief.”
Boston University professor of political science and Medford resident Timothy Longman led the eighteen girls in a discussion on Sunday on civil rights. Professor Longman provided a history of slavery, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. The girls listened to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” discussed prominent African American women, and learned about the September 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four girls. Carole Robertson, one of the girls killed, was an active Girl Scout.
The girls, ranging in age of 10-12 years old, also studied about segregation and civil rights in the Girls Scouts USA. Using material from the Girl Scouts Museum in Waltham, MA, the girls discovered disagreements over whether the first integrated troop in the US was the Red Rose Troop founded by Miss Emma Hall in New Bedford, MA, in 1913 – the third Girl Scout troop in the country – or a later troop in 1924. The girls were surprised to learn that even in Massachusetts, many troop remained racially segregated until the 1950s.
In addition to learning about civil rights, the troops participated in projects for the MLK Day of Service. They made pine cone bird feeders to hang around the snow-covered campsite. They also sorted and assembled care packages for the unhoused community. The troops are partnering with Ari Barbanell, Medford Resident and the Executive Director of the Winter Walk, to see that the care packages are distributed to members of our community who have found themselves without shelter during these winter months. Winter Walk is an initiative to raise funds and awareness about homelessness and will be held February 9 in Copley Square.
In addition, the girls made posters of encouragement and concern for the Girls Scouts and Girl Guides in New South Wales, Australia. The girls learned that at least 28 peoplehave died in Australia and more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged in the state of New South Wales alone and that millions of wildlife have be impacted. The posters will be shared on the Facebook pages of Australian Girl Scouts and Girl Guides and mailed to their Council.
After the trip, Anna Shanley, said about her daughter, “Sofia still can’t stop talking about it and she really learned a lot of valuable lessons.”