20 Aug 2014
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Whiz Kids: Girl Scout Junior Troop 1358

Recipients of the highest Girl Scout Junior award

Names: Brittany Alexander, Alyssa Blechner, Maggie DeFeo, Shelby Grosso, Lilly Gummerson, Stacey Gussak, Kianna Mack, Jenna McMahon, Meghan O’Hanlon, and Gina Scandurra

Age:  10 - 11


Accomplishment:  The Girl Scout Juniors of Lakeland East completed their "Animal Awareness" project and received their Bronze Award.

Key to Awesomeness

At an award ceremony with color guards and flags, the Girl Scout Juniors of Troop 1358 received their Bronze Award pins on Monday, May 16 at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. This highest award for Girl Scout Juniors was merited by completion of requirements that included two-year long Animal Awareness project. 

“When choosing the Troop’s Bronze Award Project, Animal Awareness was chosen because we knew that it was something that would be important to each girl,” Troop Leader Yolanda Alexander said at the ceremony. “It was something that they could relate to in their everyday life, and it was an area in which the girls could see how their hard work made a difference.” 

Under guidance of Tracey DeFeo, Erin McMahon (Co-Leaders), Alexander, and Jackie Grosso (“unofficial troop leader”), the fifth graders volunteered in community service projects, such as collecting and sorting 34 bags of newspapers for the puppies of  Canine Development Center in Patterson and baking dog cookie treats for SPCA of Westchester. 

From representatives of various local animal organizations like Putnam Humane Society, the Juniors gained knowledge in different aspects of animal care – grooming, feeding, and caring for the sick and homeless. 

Here are excerpts of what the scouts learned from their Animal Awareness Bronze Award project and shared at the ceremony. 

Brittany Alexander: I learned that the dogs [at Guiding Eyes] have a very busy schedule. They train all day to get ready to be guiding eye dogs. 

Alyssa Blechner: I learned how the K-9 dogs use their excellent sense of smell to help the police find hidden drugs.  

Maggie DeFeo: I learned about all the people, money and time it takes to raise a Guiding Eyes dog.   

Shelby Grosso: I learned that many animals are in need of homes, food, love and care. Some dogs are even smart enough to have jobs, like helping the blind and sniffing out drugs.   

Lilly Gummerson: One thing I learned is that not all work has to be hard. You can enjoy what you are doing.  

Stacey Gussak: I learned the importance of taking proper care of animals and how they can help people in their everyday lives.   

Kianna Mack: I learned about the responsibilities and respect you have to give animals. I also learned that you have to put a lot of effort into having any animals.   

Jenna McMahon: One thing I learned is that it takes a lot of hard work and responsibility to take care of and train a dog that is going to be a Guiding Eyes dog. 

Meghan O’Hanlon: I have learned how hard K-9 dogs work and how much money is spent to train them. They sniff for drugs and help catch bad people.  

Gina Scandurra: I learned the importance of volunteering in animal shelters. 

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