Medford Girl Scouts Wins Awards for Volunteering Excellence

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

Some of Medford Girl Scouts’ leaders at the 2019 GSEMA Volunteer Conference.

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 LaBissoniere – 2021 Honor Pin Awardee

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!

Girl Scout Troop 68137 Asks Medford to Adopt-a-Tree

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 Medford between 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

Direct ship Girl Scout cookie orders up 500% in Medford this cookie season

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:

  • Al’s and Sons Service Center
  • Century Bank (Medford Square)
  • Century Bank (Riverside Ave)
  • Colleen’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop
  • Mallett Automotive
  • Temple Shalom

Medford Volunteers Honored by Girl Scouts For Their Service

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.

TracyTracy Longman-Keene – Appreciation Pin

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.

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Andie Farro and Evalyn O’Rourke –  Five Year Sustained Service Award

5yearservicejpg 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!

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Rebecca Scott – Honor Pin

adult honor resizedThe 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.

Medford Juniors and Cadettes Learn About Civil Rights and Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

img_0755Members 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.”3064007_main-01

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.

img_0767In 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 people have 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.”

 

It was blue skies for Medford Encampment 2019

71403500_10218651088521139_9194915507696828416_n.jpgOver 200 girls and adult volunteers from 18 different Medford Girl Scout troops came together at Camp Runels in Pelham, NH this past weekend for our first citywide encampment in nine years. Big thanks to Andie Farro and Evalyn O’Rourke for taking on the task of organizing everything as our Encampment Directors. It wouldn’t have happened without them!

During the day on Saturday troops from Daisies to Cadettes all had opportunity to go canoeing.  In addition, each troop could pick from a variety of other activities including: geocaching, fire building (both real and edible), parachute games, gaga ball, or making recycled fashions, going on a scavenger hunt or a nature walk, or making pine cone bird feeders.  All the troops came together for a campfire and s’mores and troops in the evening and troops that are Brownies and older had the option of staying overnight. The event opened and closed with a traditional Girl Scout flag ceremony and the weather couldn’t have been better!

 

 

 

 

 

Tufts Girls of Code win the Outstanding Service Unit Partner award for their contributions to Medford Girl Scouts

IMG_6765-editMedford Girl Scouts deeply appreciates the special partnership it has with the Tufts Girls of Code. Founded in 2016 by Dr. Laney Strange, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Tufts University, the group brings together female computer science students to hold hands-on coding workshops for girls.  Their goal is to “create a welcoming environment for girls and other individuals who are frequently underrepresented in computer science.”  The Tufts students are fantastic mentors who show Medford Girl Scouts that coding is fun and something everyone can do.

Held in the computer science labs at Tufts, the workshops are free and open to all girls ages 10 and older and, each year, the Tufts Girls of Code give priority registration to Medford Girl Scouts. Recent workshop topics have included:

  • Animating in JavaScript
  • Programming games in the Python computer language
  • Using the language Alice to create 3D animations
  • Creating websites from scratch by coding in HTML and CSS

“It’s a really fun program to take because I’m learning a lot of new things that I can use later in life. Everyone that is teaching is patient and helps out when you need help with something.” – Cadence McPherson, Junior Girl Scout

““I really enjoyed it. They provided a positive environment and taught me things about coding that I hadn’t learned anywhere else. They made coding fun!” – Claire Gingo, Junior Girl Scout


Girls from the at least seven different Medford troops have jumped on the opportunity to attend the workshops. In addition to their general coding workshops, at the request of Medford Girl Scouts, the Tufts Girls of Code developed a special workshop just for Brownies who want to earn the Computer Expert badge.  They held three Computer Expert workshops and each was filled to capacity.  This was the first time the Tufts Girls of Code had led workshop for girls who were younger than 10 years old. The girls loved being in the lab, working on the computers, and seeing their work come alive on the screen.


“About half my troop participated in the Brownie Computer Expert workshop, and they all proudly showed their work at pickup time! It was such a gift to have this event. The young women leading it were great role models, and I think it is so important for our girls to see a wide range of leaders in addition to their own troop leader.” – Jane Hamel, Leader, Brownie Troop 72096


Tufts Girls of Code has a special mission to “spark engagement and interest in computer science.”  They strive, and succeed, in creating a warm and welcoming environment in which all girls get to code their own creations, and then play the games, or watch the animations, that they bring to life through their code.

Thank you to Dr. Laney Strange and the Tufts Girls of Code for expanding Medford Girl Scouts interest in STEM and coding!

About the Award:

The Outstanding Service Unit Partner recognizes a partnership that is instrumental in expanding program at the Girl Scout Service Unit level. In Girl Scouts, a Service Unit is a team of volunteers who organize and support Girl Scout programming in a particular community or region (such as the City of Medford.)  A program partner supporting a Service Unit has a direct impact on the local community which gives girls the tools they need to be successful leaders in today’s world, shows girls future career possibilities and supports one or more of the pillars of Girl Scouting (Entrepreneurship, STEM, Outdoors and Life Skills).

The award was presented to Dr. Laney Strange by Lu-Ann Souza (Manager, Program Partnerships & Member Benefits) and Jennifer Duczkowski (Director, Girl Program and Partnerships) at Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’s first Program Partner Brunch on June 16, 2018 at Camp Cedar Hill.

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Medford’s Marianne O’Connell is Eastern Mass’s top cookie seller for 2018!

MarianneThis year, the girl who sold the most cookies in all of Eastern Massachusetts is from Medford! Marianne O’Connell sold 4,408 packages, which is more than most troops sell in total.  Marianne and her Senior Troop 65007 are saving up for a Girl Scout trip to Europe and selling cookies is the cornerstone of their fundraising strategy.  They were Medford’s top selling troop with a total of 6,608 packages. Congratulations to Marianne and the rest of the girls in Troop 65007!

cookiechartIn total there were 244 Medford girls selling cookies this year for a grand total of 35,490 packages sold, which is more than Medford sold in the past three years.

 

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The Top Selling Troops

  1. Senior Troop 65007 – 6,608 Packages
  2. Cadette Troop 65456 – 3,279 Packages
  3. Junior Troop 68137 – 3,003 Packages
  4. Brownie/Junior Troop 69039 – 2,899 Packages
  5. Brownie Troop 62974 – 1,656 Packages
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The Top Selling Girls and 500 Club Members

  • 4408 – Marianne (65007)
  • 1000 – Allie (65007)
  • 750 – Victoria (65456)
  • 750 – Lorelai (65456)
  • 531 – Alessandra (72096)
  •  500 – Katherine (65007)
  •  500 – Ellie (65007)
  •  500 – Dylan (65456)
  •  500 – Aubrey (65456)
Troop65456All girls in Eastern Massachusetts who sell at least 500 packages are in the 500 Club.  This year, girls in the 500 Club will receive a free ticket to Canobie Lake Park for a special 500 Club event on May 20, 2018.
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Special thanks to Monique O’Connell, our Medford Cookie Coordinator, and Sammy Parris,  our Cookie Booth Coordinator.  In addition, we are deeply appreciative to the local  businesses that host our cookie booths.  A big shout out to:
  • Rite Aid in West Medford
  • Stop &  Shop in Wellington Circle
  • Modell’s in Wellington Circle
  • Medford Public Library
  • Post Office in Medford Square
  • Tufts University
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Medford Girl Scouts Take It To The Next Level

The Troop numbers will stay the same but over 130 Medford Girl Scouts are bridged up from one level to the next this year. Many of the girls participated in the City-Wide Bridging Ceremony that was held at St. Raphael’s Parish on June 15.  Thanks to Jenna LaBissoniere, Lynda Panico, and Jenn Iacopucci for organizing the event, and thanks to all the girls and their families for participating!

Bridging Troops
Daisies to Brownies
Troop 72091 (Leaders: Sharon and Melissa)
Troop 72095 (Leaders: Kathy and Keely)
Troop 72103 (Leaders: Debbie and Tracy)
Troop 72027 (Leaders: Jenn and Stacey)
Brownies to Juniors
Troop 72102 (Leaders: Paul and Kathryn)
Troop 72094 (Leaders: Flo, Andrea, and John)
Troop 72069 – 2 girls in the troop bridged (Leaders: Jane and Lisa)
Troop 69039 – Half the troop bridged (Leaders: Jenna, Lynda and Brooke)
Juniors to Cadettes
Troop 65264 (Leaders: Ann, James, Christine, and Liz)
Troop 65456 (Leaders: Andie and Leigh)
Cadette to Seniors
Troop 71205 (Leader: Caren)
Troop 65007 – 2 girls in the troop bridged (Leader: Monique)
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