This Girl Scout Troop Knows How to Set the Bar

By: Natalie Shoemaker, Advancement Coordinator

Girl Scout Troop 20002 NYPENN
Girl Scout Troop 20002 in Forestport, NY just won’t quit. After talking to leader Elizabeth (Beth) Abelbeck about her troop’s accomplishments, all we could say was “wow.” During our conversations we started to wonder, is there anything these girls can’t do?

This troop has every level of Girl Scout. Beth told us she likes to think of her group as a family, from pre-Daisies to Ambassadors, this group—or family—of 18 Girl Scouts have accomplished a lot since they began in 2008.

This will be the third year the troop has applied for the Presidential Service Award, and the third time they’ve received it. “So, we do a lot of community service,” Beth said. “One of my Seniors, who is going to become an Ambassador, she’s already over 250 hours.”

Each year the girls set their own goals and help decide the projects they want to take on for the year. Beth told us the parents are just as active as the girls in the decision-making process. There’s an understanding that the troop is made up of everyone—parents, girls, and volunteers—a true family.

Beth admits her troop is unique, but however different this group might be, they seem to work and work well.

Vietnam Wall Boonville
Here’s a picture of the girls visiting the Vietnam wall in Boonville, NY. “The girls stayed till midnight because the other girls and some parents read some of the names from the wall..and the little ones were the photographers.”

In the past, the troop has helped raise food, blankets, and other necessities for the local SPCA. “We actually got over 500 pounds of food,” Beth said. However, she says the troop plans to move their efforts toward raising food and stuff for private rescues.

They’ve also done a “town clean-up” where the girls help out the seniors in their community, doing yard-work and other labor to help out their elders. But the girls’ favorite activity, Beth said, has to be the Polar Plunge and the Special Olympics.

The troop even had a long-running relationship with the Mayor, Parker Snead, which began when the troop put on a big Halloween Haunted Trail. It got to the point where it was so cold one year that Beth tried to find another venue for it. “So, I went around and begged everybody, and they gave me the Town Hall,” she said. “And that’s how we got hooked up with Parker.”

He was astounded by their efforts, and after that the troop became his go-to contact for community service.

This troop has become such a pillar of their community that when Mayor Parker Snead died in December 2015, his family asked in-lieu of flowers that all donations go toward Troop 20002. “Because we do so much, the family actually called us, and we did a special ceremony.”

Wow, right?

We’re always looking to share stories about our girls and what they’re doing in and for their community. Send photos and info to nshoemaker@gsnypenn.org.

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