Building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place

By: Jesse Cook, Media Intern

JuliaJulia R., a 5th grade Girl Scout from Oneonta, recently won a cooking contest and has been invited to visit the White House for a Kids’ State Dinner where she will meet and eat with Michelle Obama.

Julia has always loved cooking. She began helping in the kitchen at an early age and first cooked by herself when she was only four years old. She discovered she was a good cook. She always enjoyed what she made and now she says she likes “altering the recipes and adding my own personal touches.”

The recipe Julia chose to enter into the contest was a spinach and apple salad with blueberry dressing, cheese pennies, and cinnamon almonds. Recipes entered into the contest had to be healthy and meet nutritional and affordability criteria. Julia’s original cheese pennies recipe was high in fat, but she created a modified version, “decreasing the amount of fat and including healthy whole grains without sacrificing the delicious taste of the New York extra-sharp cheddar cheese.” Since Julia loves sharp cheese with fruit, she decided on the salad with apples and blueberry vinaigrette.

Julia and her mom, Rachel – who is also her troop leader, will be leaving for Washington, D.C. on July 9 and return home on July 10. Their itinerary has been planned by the contest organizers. They will be visiting the Smithsonian and having a private tour of Julia Child’s Kitchen; doing a pay-it-forward activity with celebrity chef Michel Nischan to support a local charity; having a tour of the White House kitchen garden; and attending the dinner with Michelle Obama. The dinner will consist of some of the winning entries. Julia doesn’t know if her recipe will be part of the dinner, but she hopes it will be.

Julia says that Girl Scouts taught her how to plan healthy meals when planning for camp. She said her troop “did such a good job planning healthy and nutritious meals for our trip this past May that our leader had to make an executive decision and add some things to the grocery list because we had completely forgotten about s’mores!” She says she has cooked for her troop several times on camping trips. They once planned to make chicken soup, but didn’t have a recipe. Julia took charge and though the other girls were a little nervous when they saw her liberally adding spices, they loved the end result. She has earned the Simple Meals cooking badge. When asked what her favorite part about Girl Scouts was, Julia said, “It’s hard to pick a favorite since I enjoy it all. Being a Girl Scout is part of my identity.” Apparently so is being a great cook!

By: Marian Van Vlack, Lifetime Girl Scout from Whitesville, NY

MarianVermontToday I write from the Green Mountain House, an Appalachian Trail (AT) hostel outside of Manchester, VT. I can’t believe that I have already hiked through two states and am almost halfway done with my third. After my trip into Dalton, I had a very exciting day on the trail. I hiked 16 miles over Mt. Greylock and hiked my 100th mile! The night before, I camped with a man who was 20 miles away from finishing the entire trail which he has been hiking in sections for about 5 years. He inspired me to push through the day and hit my first big mileage goal. I stopped in Cheshire, MA and got a milkshake from the ice cream shop as the trail passed through town. The ascent wasn’t too hard, but it was long. Unfortunately, when I got to the top, there was too much fog to see anything. There is a very nice lodge at the summit though, and I enjoyed some tasty snacks and a much needed rest there before my descent. I was thrilled to complete the first 100 miles of my hike.

MarianPackThe next day I headed to Williamstown for a break and to resupply. My new pack, which I ordered from L.L. Bean, was waiting for me and I spent the next two days figuring out how to arrange everything in my new pack. By Sunday I was anxious to get back on the trail. I pushed myself to do 15 miles, which took most of the day. I soon passed over the border into Vermont which was another exciting accomplishment. I got to the shelter around 8pm and I was exhausted. I ended up sleeping on a picnic table inside the shelter, which wasn’t bad at all. I met a few different hikers, some were thru hikers on the AT, others section hikers, and I also met some people hiking the Long Trail which runs about 275 miles in Vermont from the MA border up to Canada.

MarianSunThe next few days I was pretty lazy. I only hiked 6 miles the next day and got to camp around 2 pm. I spent the day with Sprinkles and Bacon who are hiking the Long Trail (LT). I also met Goose and Hummingbird, a father daughter duo who are also hiking the LT, and 50tree who is finishing this section of the AT after more than 10 years. The next day I hiked to Goddard shelter which was a really beautiful shelter which overlooks a pine forest. The sunset was spectacular. The next day I finally hiked more than 10 miles and ended up tenting for the first time in quite a while. Stratton was my next big peak and the trail up the mountain was very easy going. There is a fire tower at the summit and the view was incredible.MarianTower I could see mountains and ponds and forests all around. I met a lot of hikers at the summit and ended up staying there for a while before descending. I ended up staying at the Stratton Pond shelter, which was nice and big, with bunks and a loft and a covered porch. We had quite a few people stay in the shelter and amazingly, there were 9 women and only 2 men, which is certainly not the norm out on the trail.

Today I hiked 10 miles and got a ride into Manchester where I stocked up a little and ate some delicious food. I’m staying with 50tree and Fizzi, another woman doing a solo section hike along the AT. This hostel is wonderful, fully equipped with showers and laundry and breakfast. I even got to have a true taste of Vermont with some Ben and Jerry’s. Unfortunately, it’s way past hiker midnight (9 pm) and I need to get some sleep before my hike tomorrow. My next post will come from New Hampshire!

By: Jesse Cook, Media Intern

Caeresa RichardsonCaeresa Richardson, a recently elected member of the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Board of Directors, is a winner of the Stover Volunteerism Award for her volunteer work with the Girl Scouts. The Eaton program recognizes employees who have distinguished themselves in their community through charitable service.

Caeresa works as an Associate Product Line Manager with Eaton’s Crouse Hinds Division. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University, is a certified Project Management Professional and a graduate of the John Hopkins Leadership Development Program for Minority Managers. Caeresa is very active in the Central New York community and has collaborated in several leadership capacities with organizations such as A Good Life Youth Foundation and The Promise Land Church. She is also a member of Junior League of Syracuse. In 2014, she was a recipient of the YWCA Diversity Achiever Award for her contributions to the CNY community. She lives in Liverpool, New York with her husband, David.

As a winner of the volunteerism award, she will receive a certificate and Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways will receive a check for $500 from Eaton. When asked why she works with the Girl Scouts, Caeresa said, “I chose to volunteer with the Girl Scouts [of] NYPENN because, to me, the mission and values of the Girl Scouts organization align with my personal mission and dedication for the development of professional women and young girls.” Thank you, Caeresa, for your efforts to help girls become great women.


By: Jesse Cook, Media Intern

Two Girl Scout Juniors from Endicott, NY recently received the Bronze Award. Sheridan and Abigail learned about the foster care system in their community – why children would be removed from their homes and how they ended up in foster care – and decided to do something to help. Because foster children often don’t have belongings of their own, Sheridan and Abigail wanted to give them something personal; something beyond basic necessities. The girls explained to their church congregation what life is like for foster children and asked them to donate blankets, stuffed animals, books, and dental care items as part of their almsgiving during Lent. After several weeks, the girls were able to assemble several dozen bags from the donations and give them to the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference. They also delivered a box of books and toothbrushes for the residential facility. Thank you, Sheridan and Abigail, for making other children’s difficult lives a little easier.bronze

By Lisa Kaminski; Manager, Community Development

andrea1Have you taken a look at the new girls’ choice outdoor badges? Girls’ choice outdoor badges were chosen by girls and are made for the awesome adventure seeker, team builder, and problem solver! They are the newest way for girls to explore their world. There is one for nearly each grade level in Girl Scouts. Here are three of them:

Brownie Outdoor Adventurer Badge – Climb the tallest hill you can find! Buddy up with a friend and explore your neighborhood during a night walk. There are tons of exciting adventures for you!

Junior Horseback Riding Badge – Learn the basics of horseback riding and safety when you prepare, practice and ride!

Cadette Archery Badge – Archery takes strength, focus, good form, and practice. Challenge yourself as you build your skills and learn how to shoot on a range. Bull’s eye!

For more information on these, and the other outdoor badges for different grade levels, visit a Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathway boutique, or the online store at


Fall Kickoff Meetings

By Lisa Kaminski; Manager, Community Development

volunteer1Save the date!

Adult volunteers, please join us for a showcase of opportunities that includes adult learning opportunities, programs for girls, recruitment materials, department updates, and networking and idea sharing with volunteers from your neighboring service units.

Check-in: 5:30–6p.m.
Meeting and dinner begin at 6 p.m. and are expected to end at 8:30 p.m.

If you wish to attend one of these events, please RSVP by the registration deadline for that event. There is going to be lots of fun, lots of learning, and lots of sharing!

The kickoff meetings will be taking place between August 11-26 in various locations throughout the NYPENN Pathways jurisdiction. You can find information on specific dates and locations in each region of our council here

Don’t wait! Reserve today!


be a friend

Middle school is a crucial age for young girls. It’s a time when they’re more self-aware than ever, constantly viewing themselves through the eyes of their peers. It’s also the age when girls develop the most insecurities as they begin to deal with bullying behavior from their peers. That’s why we introduced Be a Friend First (BFF), an initiative designed to complement the aMAZE! Journey. It gives middle school girls valuable skills they can use to develop healthy relationships, prevent bullying behavior, and become peacemakers in their schools and communities.

Troop 1067 from Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council developed a Take Action project based on BFF. With their “9 Ways to be a Great Friend” chart, they sent a positive message about friendship to rising sixth-graders. The aim of this project was to diminish bullying concerns, and it aligned perfectly with the BFF mission, which is to explore issues like peer pressure, stereotyping, gossip, and cliques. Without a doubt, Troop 1067’s Take Action project will help prepare girls to foster healthy relationships as they enter sixth grade. Bravo, girls!

Learn more about how your troop can integrate BFF into their projects.

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