Troop 80344 received The Gold Level President's Volunteer Service Award for outstanding community service. A ceremony was held at Roosevelt Elementary School in McDonald in April and included special guests Mark Callion from the office of US Congressman Tim Ryan, McDonald Mayor Glenn Holmes, McDonald Village Administrator Thomas Domitrovich, Pastor Carla Davies of Woodland Park United Methodist Church, and Roosevelt Elementary School Principal David Vecchione.
All seventeen members of the troop attend the McDonald school system. As the Girl Scouts were congratulated by their special guests, Troop Leader Candice Ward and Assistant Troop Leaders Lori Gillespie and Patricia Vilk-Worrell presented the awards, which consisted of the Gold Level Service Pin, a letter signed by President Barak Obama, Official Service Recognition Certificate, and a certificate stating the activities each girl participated in to earn the award. As a special surprise, Mark Callion presented the scouts with their individual certificates from the US House of Representatives recognizing their service for earning this prestigious award.
After morning announcements, a summary of the accomplishment and congratulations was announced to the student body which concluded with each Girl Scout being called down to be individually recognized by the troop leaders and special guests.
In 2012, Girl Scout Troop 80344 of McDonald served 1,577 hours and is already working hard toward next year's award. Three scouts, Rachel Ward, Megan Ward, and Abriella Gillespie, individually contributed in excess of 100 hours toward the troop's total. The following dedicated parent members who volunteer on a regular basis who met the eligibility requirements for the award were also honored: Assistant Troop Leaders Lori Gillespie and Patricia Vilk-Worrell, Hud Gillespie, JoMarie Jones, April Kawecki, Deb McCalpin, Jeff Sampson, Tammy Sampson, Michelle Titus, Greg Ward, and Becky Wolford. Troop Leader Candice Ward recently earned the Gold Level Award through her employer.
These Girl Scouts routinely go above and beyond just completing projects to help others, for these are planned activities which the girls looks forward to doing on a regular basis. The scouts are learning the importance of selfless giving to aid others. These Girl Scouts have participated in approximately 50 projects during 2012, some of which include: "Plant"iful Garden Project, Bingo at Austinwoods Nursing Center, Project Linus for the Akron Children's Hospital Beeghly Campus, Woodland Park United Methodist Church Replenishment Project, AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Pen Pal Program, Veteran's Day Cards for the Cleveland Veteran's Hospital, Reverse Trick-or-Treat and Holiday Project at the Woodland Park Retirement Apartments, Make It Don't Take It Card Project, National Emergency Responder's Day Cards for McDonald EMT, Police and Firefighters, Operation Shoebox, and Angel Tree Packages. They also took up various product collections for Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, Animal Welfare League, Angels for Animals, Goodwill, Woodland Park United Methodist Church, USO and Hurricane Sandy Victims.
The scouts were able to work a range of projects from overseas with soldiers to right in our own Village of McDonald. The largest project completed in 2012 was the "Plant"iful Garden, where the scouts were able to design, plan, implement, and maintain a project from start to finish. This was an amazing opportunity for the scouts to partner with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation in support of The People's Garden Project, along with our village leadership, residents of the Woodland Park Apartments, and our troop families to create a wildlife garden for the enjoyment of our residents.
"Our troop is very appreciative of all the support we receive from our Girl Scout families, service organizations, Woodland Park United Methodist Church, school administrators, government leaders and Girl Scouts of North East Ohio," said Ward. "With all of us partnering together we can continue working to make the world a better place as we put the principles of the Girl Scout promise and law into action. Our scouts are definitely learning the life skills needed to become tomorrow's leaders, and it is a privilege for our troop leadership to work with each and every one of them."