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.

Hilton Girl Scouts earn Silver Award with new gaga ball pit

[The following story was shared with GSWNY by Troop 60437. To share your story, please email communications@gswny.org]

Three girls from Girl Scouts of Western New York’s Troop 60437 recently earned their Girl Scout Silver Award. Natalie Porter, Tiffany Wenzel, and Emily Richards created a gaga ball pit at their local park.

The Girl Scout Silver Award can be earned by Cadette Girl Scouts who are in sixth, seventh, or eighth grade. The goal is for girls to identify an issue in the community that they care about then develop a sustainable project that helps to solve the problem. The goal is to find the root of the problem and create solutions that will have a lasting impact.

The girls learned how to play gaga ball at Girl Scout camp and they wanted to share their love of the game with others in their community. Originally they proposed a wooden pit to their town board. The town loved the idea, but requested the girls use composite lumber to create a low-maintenance and long-lasting project, which meant a higher cost. The girls raised money for their project by applying for a grant and also running a bottle drive. Local businessman,  Keith Wrisley of LJ’s Remodeling, Inc., saw their bottle drive and donated the remaining cost of the project, as well as some building materials. Hilton-Parma Parks & Recreation also donated a concrete and rubber base to further ensure the project would remain low maintenance and sustainable. The girls were also able to add an ADA door to the pit so children of all abilities could access the pit and enjoy the game. The gaga ball pit is located at the Parma Town Hall.

The girls’ troop co-leader, Melissa Wenzel, stated, “We are so proud of the girls. This project had its challenges, and the girls got discouraged at points, but they persevered and were so pleased when the project was finished!”

Their other co-leader, Chrissy Porter, added, “The girls could not have completed the project without the generous sponsorships they received. The girls had a vision but it was the support of the town and our donor who made it possible.”

Girl Scout Tiffany Wenzel said, “The project was difficult but I had a lot of fun planning and working toward the final product. I am so glad we stuck it out and were able to accomplish something so big that the whole community can enjoy. I truly believe we have made a lasting impact on the community and I’m proud of what we have done.”

The Girl Scouts wanted to thank everyone who assisted with the project through donations and support.

Tom Venniro, the Hilton-Parma Parks & Recreation Director, stated, “The Town of Parma is thrilled to have a brand new gaga pit at Parma Town Park thanks to the generous donations from Girl Scout Troop 60437 and a private funder. The troop came to me back in May of 2019 with a very impressive proposal and worked incredibly hard to support the project and ultimately complete all phases of installation. Parma Town Park has so many great amenities, but did not have a permanent gaga pit, so this adds such a great element as gaga has been one of the fastest growing games/activities over the past five to six years. Upon completion of the build, the troop members hopped in and started playing immediately and although we still look forward to some finishing touches, we have already seen children intuitively hop in the pit and play in the short time it has been up, despite colder weather conditions. It is our pleasure to be able to thank Troop 60437 for a new park amenity that will bring joy to our community for years to come.”

Girl Scouting is a year-round experience

We’re about halfway through our 2018-19 Membership Year, which leaves many potential Girl Scouts thinking there’s no reason to join now. The school year is almost over, which means Girl Scouts is about to shut down too, right?

Actually, this isn’t right at all. While most troops choose to take the summer off, the Girl Scout experience doesn’t end in May. Joining now still gives you tons of time to get involved and begin your Girl Scout journey.


#GirlScoutingYearRound is a new way to remind people that we have exciting opportunities all year long. It might be too late to sell cookies, but there’s still tons of time for camp, community service, and getting to know your troop.

Starting now means you settle into being a Girl Scout and when the new year roles around, you’re ready to experience everything new we have planned. You’ll learn more about our programs and your troop. Plus, you can use the summer to earn badges and learn new and exciting things!

We have programs over the summer around our council, including tours at the Lockport locks and cooking lessons at an animal sanctuary. We believe in providing the fun all year long.

If you or your girl is older, joining now can give you an edge in your future. Our higher awards – the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards – are designed to help you get involved with your community to make a difference. You don’t have to earn them all, meaning you can start as a Girl Scout in 10th grade and work toward your Gold Award.

Once achieved, you can use this as a way to start in the military a whole rank higher or on your college applications as a way to stand out.

What makes our program unique is we are girl-led, meaning we let our Girl Scouts decide where they want to go and what they want to learn. Joining us at any time means you can define your experience, allowing you to pursue your passion for STEM, get outdoors, learn more about the history of our region and so much more.

The limit does not exist when it comes to your potential with Girl Scouts.

Register Today

Why Girl Scouts?

For more than 100 years, we’ve been the preeminent leadership organization for girls, developing businesswomen, astronauts, governors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and even secretaries of state. The benefit of our program speaks for itself, yet it’s easy to miss why our program is so important.

The Girl Scout difference is real and powerful, and we want your girl to be a part of it, too.

It’s more than just a century of experience that helps us build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’ve done the research to make sure we’re reaching girls where it matters and delivering what they need.

From this we know your girl will learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment, which is exactly what we provide. What this doesn’t mean is a stereotypical ‘girl’ experience with where we do crafts and play with dolls. In fact, we usually prefer robots.

We’re redefining what it means to do something like a girl and showing girls how smart and valuable they are. We’re also girl-led, which means in Girl Scouts, your girl takes the lead. We provide programming for many areas, but the rest of it is in your daughter’s hands.

Instead of telling a girl what she should like or do, we let her choose. We give her opportunities to get outdoors, to learn about coding and cybersecurity, to learn how to run and a business, and so much more.

Oh yeah, and we also sell Girl Scout cookies.

As the largest girl-run entrepreneurial program in the world, our Girl Scout cookie sales are about more than fundraising and providing the USA with our delicious cookies. When you sell, you learn about business planning and financial literacy. Each level teaches you something different about these areas so every year, your girl is expanding her knowledge and building on her skills.

All our programming stands on our four pillars: STEM, Outdoors, Entrepreneurship, and Life Skills. The last encompasses several areas, including our commitment to improving our world.

Service is built into so much of what Girl Scouts do. Whether it’s making centerpieces for holiday dinners at homeless shelters or collecting blankets or educating their peers and advocating for more resources, our girls do some incredible work to help those around them.

Girl and troops do projects throughout the year, but we also have three levels of higher awards to promote this culture of giving back. Girl Scout Juniors (4th and 5th graders) can work in their troop for a minimum of 20 hours on a project to earn their Bronze Award.

Next, our Cadettes (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) can earn their Silver Award. Here they’ll work by themselves or in a small group of Girl Scouts for a minimum of 50 hours on a service project.

Finally, our Seniors (9th and 10th) and Ambassadors (11th and 12th) can earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, our highest honor. This is a completely individual process and each girl must spend a minimum of 80 hours dedicated to their project. Beyond a one-time service initiative, they have to focus on something that is sustainable and will continue to make an impact after they’re done.

Sound difficult? That’s because it is. Since the beginning of our higher awards, one million girls have earned their Gold Award. That means fewer than 6% of all our Girl Scouts earn it annually.

For those who’ve ‘gone gold,’ it’s worth it. Not only can you enter the military a whole rank higher just for earning it, it’s a critical element in the college admissions decision process.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of girl yours is because here, we’re all Girl Scout. We have something for her to and can help prepare her for a lifetime of leadership.