Honoring Patricia Whittington’s more than 50 years of service

While many of her peers were talking Woodstock back in 1969, Patricia Whittington was also talking Girl Scouts. She had joined the Girl Scouts while a young girl as they advocated for civil rights and launched an initiative to overcome prejudice.

She was there as a young adult when the actress Debbie Reynolds (who was a troop leader) headed a project to introduce the Girl Scouts to under-served communities while building value for the older girls. Soon she would be a part of their work to improve understanding of ecology with a new environmental education program.

Patricia Whittington joined the Girl Scouts in the early 1950’s and earned her First Class and Curved Bars as a Girl Scout. As an adult and parent her service never stopped. In addition to numerous stints as a Troop Leader and Cookie Manager, she served in various leadership capacities for the Aurora Service Unit, which helps coordinate all the local troops. She’s also volunteered regionally for the Girls Scouts of Buffalo & Erie County and served as a delegate at national conferences.

While much has changed since her first days, the core values of the Girl Scouts has remained the same, and Patricia Whittington has loaned her time and talents to the organization in every one of those years. All four of her daughters were active Girl Scouts and remain involved as adults as Troop Leaders and managers for the East Aurora Unit.

On Wednesday, August 28, 2019 the Girl Scouts in East Aurora recognized the retiring leader and volunteer by dedicating a Little Free Library and a park bench at the Aurora Community Pool Park at 690 South Street in her honor. A second bench was also installed to salute Girl Scouts of the past, present and future. Members of her family, friends, other leaders, and many of the Girl Scouts whose lives she touched were present for the surprise presentation.

The dedication was organized by Girl Scout Calissa Rosinski, who built the library and coordinated signage for the occasion, as part of her Silver Award. The Immaculate Conception graduate and incoming East Aurora High School freshmen is the daughter of Kelly & Philip Rosinski of East Aurora.

Elizabeth Del Vecchio: 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout

Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Elizabeth
Del Vecchio of East Aurora, NY, as a 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout. Del Vecchio’s project was titled “Charming Sensory Interactive.”

Del Vecchio explained, “My project created weighted stuffed animals for people with anxiety issues. The weight of the stuffed animal helps calm the person that is holding it. I had several groups get together to help cut open stuffed animals, remove the original stuffing or move the stuffing into the legs, arms and head area, and then add weighted pellets. The finished weighted stuffed animals weigh between 1.5 to 4 pounds. I had high school students from East Aurora High School help me make these animals. I donated them to East Aurora Schools and local low-income donation centers. Anxiety issues are worldwide in every age group. I was not able to cure anxiety, but what I did do was help calm a few students in a classroom and at home. The weight of the animals relaxes the student when it is placed on their lap. I was able to help students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and even a few college students.”

Del Vecchio added, “Girl Scouts has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Through my involvement with Girl Scouts, I have developed life values that I will always cherish. I respect everyone that has dedicated their time, skills and resources to help all Girl Scouts. I’ve been very fortunate to go on countless camping trips, along with a trip to Washington D.C. for the 100-year anniversary celebration of Girl Scouts. Growing up as a Girl Scout has made me develop into a team player, a leader, and an independent young woman. For all Girl Scouting has done for me, I am extremely grateful.”

Del Vecchio will receive her Gold Award at the Gold Award Ceremony on June 1, 2019. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls.

The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into “going for the Gold.” A Girl Scout’s project should be something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action that encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global) and create change that has the potential to be on-going or sustainable. Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and to enter the military a full rank higher than her peers.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.

The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.

To learn more, visit gswny.org.