Girl Scouts being boosted in a big way

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Girl Scouts recently held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Adopt-A-Family in Whitehall.

Since May 2022, Whitehall’s Mary Hollister has been the manager of Service Unit 309 of Northern Washington County Girl Scouts. Hollister is a booster for Girl Scouts without compare.

When she isn’t carrying out Girl Scout activities, she is planning Girl Scout activities for Girl Scouts across Northern Washington County.

Northern Washington County Girl Scouts includes every girl in the school districts of Whitehall, Granville, Fort Ann and Hartford, which means, Hollister said, “it covers those towns plus a little bit of Vermont. There are some kids in southern Vermont who attend school in one of those communities, so we include them as well.”

Girl Scouts in Northern Washington County are busy with activities and fun, from a visit to the Bronx Zoo in September to a field trip to navigate the Heroic Corn Maze at Fort Ticonderoga in October to a spaghetti dinner benefit in Whitehall last week for Adopt A Family, followed by a bake sale in Lake George over the weekend also to benefit Adopt A Family.

Adopt A Family is a Girl Scout project Hollister is particularly proud of: “Our program is huge. Last year we adopted 29 children from 14 families in northern Washington County.”

The service unit buys what the children need, like snowpants and winter coats, boots, socks, underwear, pajamas, three shirts and three pairs of pants, and then the girls in the individual troops get a single toy for each of the children using funds from Girl Scout cookie sales or any other fundraisers they might have at the troop level, Hollister said.

Next July, Mary Hollister wants to get as many area Girl Scouts as possible to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for the 2023 Girl Scout Convention, the world’s largest gathering of Girl Scouts that takes place once every three years.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of fundraising between now and then to get as many girls there as we can,” she said.

In November, Hollister said, the plan is to take pre-orders and then make pies for sale for Thanksgiving. They have other plans in the works, too, to raise the money necessary to finance the trip, which will take place next July 18-22.

Local Girl Scouts traveled to Washington, D.C. this past September to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.

Last Sunday, instead of the usual trunk-or-treat activity, area Girl Scouts gathered for a birthday party for Girl Scout founder Juliette Low, who was born on Halloween.

And on Nov. 11 at the Methodist church in Whitehall, the service unit is having an investiture to welcome new girls into Scouting and re-dedicate Girl Scouts who have been involved for a while. “Due to the pandemic, we haven’t done this in three years, so my definition of ‘new’ will be new within the past three years.”

Currently, “we’re having a ginormous membership drive,” said Hollister.

Last year, there were 46 Girl Scouts in northern Washington County, and “as of yesterday, we’re up to 63.” This Sunday, Girl Scouts are going to Fort Ann, where there isn’t currently a single Girl Scout, and “we’re bringing Girl Scouts there so we can get some Girl Scouts there.”

As service unit manager, Hollister says “I’m kind of like the CEO of Girl Scouts in this area.” So she has leaders meetings once a month “where we talk about whatever challenges we’re facing and what goals we want to accomplish and how we’re going to accomplish them.”

The potluck dinner meetings are also a good opportunity for troop leaders to talk about “something awesome they did in the last 30 days, so that maybe we can duplicate that for the other troops.”

Hollister said that Girl Scouts are looking for the community to support them as they move forward with their hope of getting kids to Disney or any other Girl Scouting opportunity. “We’re also looking to support our community if there’s a problem that comes up that we can help with.” As an example, she mentioned a community member who needed help accomplishing a task.

“We want opportunities to serve our community and we also want the support of our communities so that the girls have more opportunities to grow into strong women, which is our ultimate goal.”

For more information on Service Unit 309 of Northern Washington County, visit the Girl Scout Adventures w/SU309 N Wash Co at facebook.com/groups/1821470664860268, or for more general information on Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, visit girlscoutsneny.org.