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.

More of Ava's musical work toward her Gold Award!

Girl Scout Ava is continuing work on her Girl Scout Gold Award. A portion of her project has been live violin performances in nursing homes in her local area. She’s expanded to include her troop in her performances at 2 locations recently. Can’t wait to see her get her Gold Award in June at the ceremony! 💛💛💛

Emma Smith completes her Gold Award project, a mural at the Monroe County Visitation Center

[The information and quotes for this post were gathered from the ‘Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Mural at the Visitation Center‘ post on the Society for the Protection and Care of Children’s website. To learn more about her project, click here to read the full submission.]

Recently, Emma Smith, high school junior, completed her Gold Award project. Pulling from her love for art, Emma decided to paint a mural at the Monroe County Visitation Center, where there are 1,500 supervised visits a month between foster children and their parents/families.

Image via SPCC

Her inspiration came from the ‘Freddie-Sue’ bridge in downtown Rochester, named for Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. She added some of the city skyline, the Genesee River, and a peregrine falcon. She wanted a design that would appeal to both children and adults who passed by it when coming to the Center.

She spent many hours researching foster care in Monroe County and working with different organizations to get the project and mural design approved. Once the details were finalized, Emma spent four days painting the mural.

To fund her Gold Award project, she pulled from profits she’s earned during her 10 years of selling Girl Scout cookies!

Based on her submission, the mural began bringing joy before it was finished, with children smiling and looking at it as they passed by when Emma was in the process of painting it.

Well done, Emma, and congratulations!

Ava G’s musical Gold Award project!

Ava Giangrasso is currently working on her Gold Award. She is creating a video series of her violin performances and then traveling to local nursing homes to perform in-person. She is providing the residents and staff with resources and info to access her videos so they can be viewed at any time. In the photo below she is performing at Brompton Heights and they loved her so much they asked her to come back next week.

Danielle’s Gold Award Story

[The following was submitted to GSWNY from Danielle’s mother and troop leader Elizabeth Bellis.]

Danielle Bellis loves soccer. She started playing in the local league’s in-house program when she was five years old. She has since played on the league’s travel team, and the school’s modified, junior varsity, and now varsity teams. She worked as a referee for the league’s in-house program and volunteered as a coach for an ad-hoc preschool program they were considering. Then when Dani decided to go for her Girl Scout Gold Award, which requires completing a sustainable community service project, something soccer-related seemed like a logical choice.

The league president suggested she create an official preschool soccer program that they would maintain in the future and offer free. Dani jumped at the idea of creating a soccer program for the community. She could share her love of soccer while starting young kids on the road to a healthy lifestyle of physical activity, self-confidence, and team work. As she considered the benefits the program could provide the community, she realized her program could benefit more than just the preschool kids.

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This was also an opportunity to get older kids involved as coaches and encourage them to start volunteering in their community. She could create a coaching packet to make it easy to coach even without any soccer experience.

This past spring Danielle did just that. She created a teen-led and coached soccer program for preschool age kids and called it “First Kicks.” She put together a coaching binder of activities and games, as well as a few coaching tips. She registered 60 preschool participants and recruited nine teenage coaches beside herself. She ran a six-week program with two 45 minute sessions on Saturdays, one for 3-year-olds and one for 4-year-olds.

At the end of the season, Danielle provided the league with all the materials it needs to continue the free program including an annual schedule and budget, advertising materials, a list of contacts, and the coaching binders.

Danielle completed the requirements of the community service project and earned her gold award. She will graduate this spring and plans to continue volunteering for the First Kicks program.

Ellen Chapman: 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout

Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Ellen Chapman of Buffalo, NY, as a 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout. Chapman’s project was titled “New Home For Stitch Buffalo.”

Chapman explained, “My Gold Award Project took place in Buffalo working with an organization called Stitch Buffalo. Stitch Buffalo works with refugee women in Buffalo to help them create items to sell to generate income for their families. I felt that working with them could be the most meaningful project I could do. I also appreciate the work that Stitch Buffalo creates for the women in my community. The purpose of my project was provide a suitable space for the women of Stitch Buffalo to work outside. The organization had recently moved to their own location, and I wanted to make sure they could maximize their space. To finish this project I first had to fundraise. I held a bake sale at one of Stitch Buffalo’s annual sales. I sold coffee, tea and other baked goods. I received a gift card from the Lexington Co-op to help with the bake sale. I then weeded out the backyard of their location, and purchased a table to give them. I also volunteered to help them sort their donations as they moved locations.”

Chapman added, “Being in Girl Scouts has allowed me to experience so many new things. We’ve gone white water rafting, learned how to fence, made pasta from scratch, gone horseback riding, visited colleges, and gone to New York City. I’ve learned so much from my troop leader; she’s so organized and inspiring. Honestly, she’s the reason I still do Girl Scouts. She and many other women have been a part of my Girl Scout journey, and I’m extremely thankful.”

Chapman 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.