Girl Scouts hold 2017 Awards Banquet and Bridging Ceremony



Vinton’s Girl Scout Troop 94 held its fourth annual Awards Banquet and Bridging Ceremony at Thrasher Memorial UMC on June 3. The troop is sponsored by Thrasher and has grown rapidly to 33 registered members over those four years.

The evening and the banquet began with a blessing of the food and the occasion by Brownie Maggie Hawkins. After dinner, the Color Guard– Will Hawkins and Jacque Musser– presented the Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the reciting of the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law.

Troop leader Stefanie Hawkins thanked several special guests and volunteers who had been instrumental in the activities and achievements of the girls over the course of the year. Assistant troop leader Joe Black was first on her list, followed by Jackie McFalls, their Cadette Leader, who stepped up when the troop needed someone for a new level just begun this year.

Others included Anna Black, who organized the Father-Daughter Dance; Dr. Justine Crowley, who assisted girls working for their Junior First Aid Patch with her presentation; Pastor B. Failes from Thrasher, who conducted a “My Promise–My Faith” presentation enabling the Scouts to earn another badge; Vickie Hawkins with a presentation on Troop First Aid; and Donald Helms of Affordable Mini-Storage, who provided a mobile storage unit for the Girl Scout Cookie Sale.

Hawkins also expressed the Troop’s gratitude to Nancy Samaan, who gave a presentation on Egypt for World Thinking Day. Samaan, a pharmacist, moved to the United States from Egypt in October 2016 with her two daughters; the older, Sally Saweeres, being a Cadette Scout.

Jeff McFalls, Julie Meleason, Susan Perry, and Dawn Talty were recognized for their help in making the Spring Camping Trip such a success, along with troop bookkeeper Whendy Widener, and troop treasurer Rochelle Betsch. The thanks extended to Betsch were emotional because her family will be moving to South Carolina.

Thanks to the adults were followed by awards to the individual Girl Scouts. There are several ranks in the Girl Scout organization: girls in kindergarten and first grade are called Daisies; those in grades two and three are Brownies; girls in grades four and five are Juniors; those in grades six through eight are Cadettes; in grades nine and 10 they are known as Seniors; and in grades 11 and 12 they are Ambassadors.

Daisy Awards for kindergarteners were presented by Betsch to Reagan Hurt, Serenity Musser, Skyler Perry and to the First Grade Daisy unit– Caleigh Aremia, Kayla Carter, Caelen Reed, and Bryanna “Bree” Wall.

The two Brownie units make up the largest groups of Troop 94. Their awards were presented by Hawkins. Those Scouts include second graders Emily Atwood, Abigail Betsch, Susannah Booth, Madelyn “Maddy” Brown, Campbell Duff, Grace Reynolds, Hope Reynolds, Averi Schmaeman, and Izabella “Bella” Trumble. Third grade Brownies receiving awards were Alyssa Cole, Alisha Harris, Xe’Ana Harris, Anna Margaret “Maggie” Hawkins, Isabel Hristov, Tatianna Kubik, Nancy “Beth” McFalls, Alexandra Meleasaon, and Jessica Wood.

Junior Scouts in fourth grade included Lindsey Dickson, Heather Meikle, Genevieve Paul, and Mairead Rourke. They received their awards from Joe Black, who also recognized fifth grader Makenna Jacobsen.

Jackie McFalls presented sixth graders Hannah Paul and Sally Saweeres with recognitions for their accomplishments as Cadettes.

Hawkins recognized Remi Poindexter, who is on the Ambassador Level. She will be traveling to Iceland, France, and England over the summer with other Girl Scouts from Virginia.

The troop also recognized a group of girls too young to be Daisies who have formed a non-sanctioned unit known as “Pearls.”

The top three Girl Scout cookie sellers were recognized: Campbell Duff sold 612 boxes; Maggie Hawkins, 587; and Jessica Wood, 572.

Hawkins announced that the grand total for Troop 94 was 8,067 boxes, making it the second top-selling troop in their Girl Scout community.

The evening concluded with the Bridging Ceremony, which marks a girl’s move from one level of Scouting to another. Scouts walk across a symbolic bridge to be met by members from the next level of Scouts who help them don their new vests and present them with pins. The pins are placed upside down on their uniforms until they perform a “good deed” and can then be turned right side up.

Scouts advancing from Daisy to Brownie included Caleigh Aremia, Kayla Carter, Caelen Reed, and Bryanna Wall.

Brownies bridging to become Juniors were Alyssa Cole, Alisha Harris, Xe’Ana Harris, Anna Margaret “Maggie” Hawkins, Isabel Hristov, Tatianna Kubik, Nancy “Beth” McFalls, Alexandra Meleason, and Jessica Wood.

“Pearls” who received Daisy Scout pins and advanced to become official Scouts were Amelia Belle Isle and McKenna Schmaeman. New Junior Scout Abigail Atwood was also recognized.

Adults Fawn Reed, Allie Rourke, and Whendy Widener were sworn in as new leaders in Troop 94.

Troop 94 is a member of the Girls Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council, who “believe in the power of every girl.” Theprogram is designed to “help a girl discover who she is and what she can do, and connect her to a powerful community of girls and mentors to make it happen, exploring learning, succeeding, and taking action to make a difference in their community.”

According to its website, the Skyline Council with dedicated adult volunteers, parents, and staff work with 6,000 girls in a 36-county area in Central, Southside, Southwest, and Western Virginia, with their headquarters in Roanoke.

They have three camp properties: Camp Icimani in Roanoke County, Camp Sacajawea in Bedford County and Camp Sugar Hollow in Albemarle County.

Troop 94 meets at Thrasher Memorial UMC in Vinton in the old fellowship hall on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in accordance with the Roanoke County Schools schedule. They break down into individual levels and meet in various classrooms. Their schedule will begin again with a parent meeting on August 24 and the first official troop meeting on August 31.