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Baltimore—March 6-13, Girl Scouts across the nation will be celebrating the 109th birthday of Girl Scouts. It was on March 12, 1912, that Juliette Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, GA. Each year during this week, we honor her vision and legacy. 109 years later, millions of girls have been and are members of the organization that encourages girls to try new things, develop lifelong leadership skills and to do their part to make the world a better place—often through community service and service to others. Girl Scouts of Central Maryland (GSCM) has been part of the fabric of theMar Maryland community since 1913 when the first troop, the Pikesville Poppies, was established. Since then girls have been earning badges as well as fulfilling the requirements for earning Girl Scouts service inspired awards, the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Each require girls to identify a problem or issue in their community and to address it through community service.
During this same week, AmeriCorps is celebrating 56 years of bringing Americans together to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Founded in1965, the AmeriCorps VISTA program provides opportunities for Americans, 18 years or older, to dedicate a year of full-time service with an organization to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities, especially underserved populations.
GSCM partnered with Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) to place our current VISTAs. We have all three types of AmeriCorps program VISTAs; four are through the local government, one is through the Governor's office, and beginning in April, nine National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC) members, who are placed by the federal AmeriCorps headquarters office, will be working at Girl Scouts’ Camp Whippoorwill and Camp Woodlands from April 1 through May 3. Getting an award from all three AmeriCorps levels in one year is very prestigious and speaks to the commitment that both organizations have towards making the world a better place.
AmeriCorps VISTAs have been working with GSCM to provide robotics training and programming for girls in Harford County, develop community troops in Brooklyn Park, Middle River and Annapolis and one will be coordinating the work to be done at our camp properties.
Here is some background information about three of our current VISTAs:
Eliza Poffenberger: After learning that her fall semester would be remote, Eliza took a leave of absence from her study at Wellesley College to look for meaningful gap year experiences. She discovered Volunteer Maryland, an AmeriCorps program within the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. She knew that this long-term opportunity to support her community and gain practical knowledge of a nonprofit environment was for her. Eliza joined GSCM as a Volunteer Coordinator in October 2020. During her time with the GSCM council, she has begun to build a volunteer structure for seasonal camp projects and to recruit community partners to support the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars and Girls in Fearless Transition (G.I.F.T.) programs.
Ricky Stylslinger: Took a year off from school before pursuing her post-graduate studies. She is a 2020 graduate of Towson University with a degree in Economics and Environmental Policy. As an AmeriCorps VISTA she is serving as a Community Troop Coordinator for Baltimore County and is working on mapping out and forming Community Troops in Dundalk, Essex, and Middle River.
Anna Twigg: After graduating with a Master in Public Administration, Anna chose to become an AmeriCorps VISTA to build up her professional skills in the nonprofit sector while also giving back to her local community in a meaningful and lasting way. She is working to start up new Girl Scout troops in the underserved neighborhoods of Brooklyn Park and the City of Annapolis. Anna is also a former Girl Scout.
Girl Scouts of Central Maryland serves nearly 18,000 girls in grades K-12 residing in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience—a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, going on awesome trips, selling cookies, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects, Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe place designed for and by girls.
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