Patch Whiz Kid/Team/Club of the Week: Girl Scouts Amanda Berger, Samantha Bernstein, Caroline Bizub, Hayley Brener, Isabella Buccino, Ellie Decker, Hailey DeVita, Mary Fant, Rylie Frieder, Elizabeth Hadley, Olivia Lieberman, Julia Reif and Alexandra Shamosh.
Whiz Kid's School/Church/Community Center: Girl Scout Troop 20308 of North Caldwell
Whiz Kid's Accomplishment: Joseph H. Alessi, Mayor of the Borough of North Caldwell, presented the troop with a proclamation, honoring their years of community service and participation in activities that have benefitted the less fortunate.
Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness: With most of their members together since kindergarten, the girls of Troop 20308, under the guidance of co-leaders Valerie Buccino and Stephanie Hadley, have consistently participated in several community service projects each year, aiding individuals, families and communities in need, both close to home, and overseas. Mayor Joseph Allesi recognized these activities on May 19 at a special meeting to honor the troop.
Beginning in 2006, these young girls began their community involvement as part of a much larger Daisy Troop, coloring placemats for the homeless and donating perishable items to the needy for Thanksgiving. The girls donated pennies to the Salvation Army, supported Kids Adjusting Through Support (an organization that helps underprivileged and abused children), and following a presentation by North Caldwell volunteer firefighters on the importance of respecting authority, made cards thanking the firefighters for their time and for keeping the town safe. In addition, the girls sponsored “Pennies for Puppies” to help Orphan Pets, collecting spare change, bags of dry puppy food and used stuffed animals for the puppies.
By 2007, the girls, already experts in community service, continued in their acts of kindness as their larger troop split into three, creating the existing Troop 20308. The troop began a yearly Thanksgiving tradition, making placemats and collecting food donations for the less fortunate. The biggest service project of the year, the girls organized a school-wide drive to collect, sort and assemble items for 50 care packages sent to the U.S. military troops overseas. In addition, the girls sent some of the money raised from the sales of Girl Scout cookies to A.R.M.S., a non-profit organization that helps serve deployed soldiers and their families. The girls also signed cards for the U.S. Troops overseas and used additional cookie monies to donate books to help underprivileged children through SCEEP (Suburban Cultural Educational Enrichment Program).
In the girls second year as Brownie Girl Scouts, the annual Thanksgiving food collection continued and the girls also donated to Eva’s Village, Paterson, which feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, treats the addicted and provides medical care to the poor.
In 2009, in addition to the traditional collections, the girls added more community service activities to their resumes, making bird feeders to hang in the community during the winter months, teaming with a West Caldwell Brownie Troop to donate supplies to make breakfast bags for the homeless and donate food to the local food pantry, and collecting items and assembling health kits for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.
The girls began 2010 by organizing a collection for unwanted Halloween candy. The candy was distributed to the homeless and less fortunate. In addition to the annual Thanksgiving collection, the girls assisted the town of North Caldwell with its annual holiday celebration, working the arts and crafts and toy collection tables, and donating toys to the children at Sloan Kettering and Ronald McDonald House. The troop also collected cash donations for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and collected donations to send cookies to the local food pantry and the U.S. troops. In addition, the girls made origami cranes to send to Girl Scouts in Japan as part of a universal Girl Scout effort. The Girl Scouts of Japan made and mailed thousands of origami cranes to the United States as an expression of peace and friendship after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As a final service project, the girls intend to help the North Caldwell Recreation Department with the planting of flowers or other plants this spring.
This troop of hardworking and compassionate young girls plans to continue their community and charitable efforts over the next few years, helping those less fortunate and making North Caldwell, its surrounding towns, and the world a better place.