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Newtown Girl Scouts Staying Connected During A Very Disconnected Time



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Spring and early summer 2020 have been a great challenge for everyone, Girl Scouts included, but local troops have found ways to adapt to the new reality of social distancing and online communication while still engaging in outdoor activities and community service.

From Daisies to Ambassadors, many troops have been holding Zoom meetings.

An in-person art show planned for April was replaced by online slideshows where girls shared their work with family, friends, and other Girl Scouts, which is a requirement for many of the badges.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut launched a program called GSofCT@Home which offers online, interactive programming for girls to participate in with partners such as NASA, Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Scholastic, and Connecticut Audubon. Some programs meet weekly or biweekly, with the girls writing code, tending vegetable gardens, or observing the night skies and recording their findings between meetings, and then sharing their work with other Girl Scouts and advisors.

Newtown Girl Scouts have also participated in some fun patch activities that still deliver important messages. The “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands” fun patch arrived with a list of instructions about when it is necessary to wash one’s hands. Girls coated their hands with cinnamon to replicate germs, and then saw how long they needed to wash their hands to get rid of all the cinnamon (answer: 20 seconds).

To celebrate Earth Day, Girl Scouts had to choose an activity that helps the Earth, such as cleaning up litter in the neighborhood, separating recycling from trash, turning off the tap while brushing teeth, or using a food waste bin to keep food out of the trash. Girl Scout parents/guardians then shared the picture of their Girl Scouts with the Newtown Service Unit to earn another fun patch.

The end of the academic year meant saying farewell to some troop members: Ten local Girl Scouts bridged to adult this year, eight of whom also achieved their Gold Awards:

Sabrina Boccuzzi (Gold ’19), Katherine Bonomo (Gold ’19), Sabrina Capodicci (Gold ’19, Gold Award Scholarship ’20), Audrey Christensen (in process, Gold ’20), Caitlin Farrell, Kimberly Johnson (Gold ’20), Kiera O’Sullivan, Anastasia Meltzer (Gold ’19), Marianella Salinas (Gold ’19), and Maya Welber (Gold ’19).

No Bummer Summer

The local Girl Scouts are now participating in a “No Bummer Summer” fun patch program to keep them active and engaged. It includes new activities such as go geocaching, preparing a meal with their family, bicycle riding, and writing a letter to a friend.

Girls also earn rewards just for being a Girl Scout, or having sold a certain number of cookies during cookie season. Each activity has a point value, and the girls have to reach 50 points to earn the fun patch. It’s all a way to keep Girl Scouts connected during this very disconnected time.

Although residents have not seen the girls themselves around town, many have probably seen the “Newtown Girl Scouts Say Thank You! You’re Our Heroes!” signs that have been posted all over town, at schools, businesses, restaurants, doctors’ offices, and private residences. The signs were the Girl Scouts’s way to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts members of the community have put forth during the pandemic: teachers, nurses, doctors, restaurateurs, grocery store workers, mask and face-shield makers, rally organizers, and many others.

Nominations were received by Girl Scouts, troop leaders, parents, and even some of the recipients. Each hero received a letter with the names of the person/people who nominated them and why, and a sign to put in front of their home or business. The signs were delivered by the Newtown Service Unit co-leaders Heather McIsaac Smith and Maria Japon Konitshek.

Girl Scouts of Newtown are looking forward to starting a new year of Girl Scouting soon with kindergarten Daisy troops forming in all four elementary schools. More new members will also be welcomed at every rank.

For more information about Newtown Girl Scouts, send an e-mail to newtownsuteam@gmail.com.

Girl Scout fun patches — special patches that let troop members express themselves — now include the pandemic-appropriate “Keep Calm And Wash Your Hands.” Newtown Girl Scouts did an activity this summer to earn the unofficial emblem.
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