Troops Help the Homeless In Polar Vortex

I tell you honestly, I was so excited walking into the church that I surprised myself. I was laughing thinking can it really have been nearly fifteen years since I took part in a meeting of the girl scouts myself? Make that almost twenty. But, I recall that motto as though it were yesterday. "On my honor I will try - to serve god and my country..to help people at all times and to live by the girl scout law" 

Well it's different now. Now they say "be a sister" and "make the world a better place." 

Either way there are cupcakes and puzzles; service projects and badges; sisterhood. I loved that most of all.

A little girl named Paige ran up to me and hugged me before I could even take my coat off. Her troop leader, also her Grandmother, had called to say the girls were turning over warm clothes and blankets to a volunteer from the church who works with homeless resources in the Hudson Valley. Could I make it over to give some coverage to their efforts? Of course! I live for this!

Six young pretty faces surrounded a makeshift workspace in the center of the communal recreation room at the church in Gardnertown. Brianna, Norah, Kaylee, Valerie, Makayla and Paige meet twice a month earning their way towards patches and badges for just over a year under the umbrella of the girl scouts of America, better known as troop 744. Co-leader Nicole Vanwhervin and her counterpart, aforementioned leader Mary Ann Hunter, are sworn to uphold the core values, enjoyment and fulfillment of these young ladies as they work their way towards outstanding citizenship, building character and lasting friendships. 

The collection of community-donated items is generously piled with leather jackets and designer sweatshirts new-with-tags. There is even a selection of hand crocheted blankets and hats donated by a local community club that meets in Cornwall. Mittens (since they turned up) will count towards the girl's mitten-drive patch. But, really Mary Ann has organized this to show the girls the power of their work. 

When Barbara Prackelt arrives to visit with the troop and give the girls a heartfelt thanks, she tells the girls about the relationship she has with local shelters like Hudson House and Project Life. She closes with, "Don't worry. They will get to the place where they are most needed." Barbara reveals to me that she also has a relationship with Newburgh Ministries (845) 561-0070) who may also be able to help with distribution. Many hands. 

After taking an inventory, Barbara exits with the cold-weather items, a song playing in all of our hearts. I remember this part best of all. The part where you not only get to feel good about your contribution to the victory, but also see the back-breaking work and extensive organization behind the gesture. There is always more to be done. 

I stay a bit longer, watching the girls collect on their yearly bounty of badges and patches which are distributed right before my eyes. Each of the girls shares their favorite badge with me and tells a story about how they earned it. Their smiles are ear to ear and so is mine. 

Thank you Troop 744 for inviting me into your special space where young girls become future leaders. 

  1. Headlining Photo Troop Leader Mary Ann, Paige, Norah, Brianna, Kaylee, Valerie, Makayla, Co-leader Nicole Vanchervin
  2. Barbara in the background.

Keep up the good work girls! From all of your friends at Happy Hudson Valley.