Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Girl Scout Birthday in a Box

MILLVILLE -- Girl Scout Gabriella has a birthday wish, but not for herself.

Gabriella , a member of Troop 54748 in Millville, is more than a month into an effort to collect enough birthday party supplies to brighten that special day for more than 40 area children.

"Birthday-In-A-Box" is the 14-year-old's community project and, if successful, proof that she deserves scouting's Silver Award.

The "box" in the project is a package of party necessities -- from cake mix to a gift.

Gabriella , a Vineland resident, came up with the idea during a visit here to the Holly City Family Success Center.

"My mom has an outreach Girl Scout troop here, where she has meetings with younger girls," Gabriella said. "A lot of times, I'll help her with that. So, I was there and I was talking to one of the girls. I think we were actually leaving and she said, 'It's my birthday.'"

Gabriella said the girl told her she would not be having a party or even a special meal. "That totally wrenched my heart out," she said.

"It also must be a terrible feeling as a parent to know you can't provide that for a child because you don't have the means to make their birthday special," she said.

The encounter gave her an idea for her scouting project, however. In mid-March, she began organizing the drive and recruiting help from other troops and at her school, Bishop Schad Regional School in Vineland.

"I've broken it up where I'll ask different age groups of girls for different things," she said. "Like, I'll ask the Daisies to bring in cake mix. I might ask the Juniors to bring in frosting. And I did the same thing with my school, Bishop Schad. And they've really helped a lot."

Gabriella said she has a $5 limit for the gifts to avoid great disparities in gifts.

The final day for collection is being pushed into June. So far, the collection has brought in enough material to pack about 20 boxes. "Honestly, with the amount of support I'm getting, I'd like to make that much bigger," she said.

The Family Success Center, an operation of Gateway Community Action Partnership, is helping Fusco and acting as a drop-off location for donations. The boxes are coming from a UPS store in Linwood.

Jennifer D'Alessandro, the center's director, said the completed Birthday-In-A-Boxes will be distributed to families that come to the center, as well as at a Gateway center in Bridgeton.

In addition, the boxes will go to a South Jersey Healthcare System center in Vineland.

D'Alessandro said the centers keep useful data on families, including birth dates.

"We send them a birthday card," she said.

Kim Vinnick is a Girl Scout advisor to Gabriella, and her husband owns the UPS store that donated the boxes.

"It's very doable," Vinnick said. "The objects are not very expensive."

Gabriella said the project also should last beyond this year. Her school and its Samaritan Club have agreed to take it on as a continuing effort, she said.

Friendly’s Girl Scouts Thin Mints™ Cookie Ice Cream Cake

Friendly’s Girl Scouts Thin Mints™ Cookie Ice Cream Cake Brings Together Two American Favorites

Wilbraham, Mass., April 20, 2011 -- Friendly’s introduces the Friendly’s Girl Scouts Thin Mints™ Cookies Ice Cream Cake. Under a new license agreement with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the ice cream experts at Friendly’s have created a frozen confection that incorporates the top-selling Girl Scout Cookie variety—Thin Mints.

Friendly’s premium chocolate ice cream with chunks of Girl Scout Thin Mints™ brand cookies and a crunchy Girl Scout Thin Mints™ cookie center is covered with rich chocolate truffle. The entire cake is then topped with more Girl Scout Thin Mints™ cookie chunks and a crisscross drizzle of fudge.

“We are very excited to introduce this delicious dessert that combines two of America’s best loved treats – Girl Scout Thin Mints and Friendly’s ice cream,” said Tim Hopkins, Friendly’s Executive Vice President, Retail and Manufacturing.

“Girl Scouts is pleased to be working with Friendly’s to expand awareness of our organization to grocery store shoppers, and Girl Scout Cookie aficionados will now have a new way to enjoy their favorite treat,” said Barry Horowitz, GSUSA’s Vice President and General Manager, Girl Scout Merchandise.

Friendly’s Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cookie Cake will be available at all Friendly’s restaurants and select retail locations beginning in April.

About Friendly Ice Cream Corporation
Friendly Ice Cream Corporation is a vertically integrated restaurant company serving signature sandwiches, entrees and ice cream desserts in a friendly, family environment with system-wide sales of $700 million and distribution through more than 4,000 retail locations. With a 75-year operating history, Friendly's enjoys strong brand recognition and is currently revitalizing its restaurants and introducing new products to grow its customer base. For additional information please visit

About Girl Scouts
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with more than three million girl and adult members. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girls Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit

Monday, May 23, 2011

Elk Township Girl Scouts take a stand on bullying

Gloucester County Times
Saturday, May 21, 2011
By Carly Q. Romalino

ELK TWP. Ð After a first-hand brush with bullies, an Aura School-based Girl Scout troop won't stand for bullying anymore.

The group of 10 second- and third-grade girls took a stand against bullies Friday with a school-wide presentation on the damage hurtful comments can do, and how to deal with a classmate who takes teasing too far.

"They decided to end bullying at Aura School for every child, forever," said Kay Bessette, leader of Troop 62499.

The anti-bullying presentation coined a new phrase Ð "Stop, talk and walk" Ð that Aura School's kindergarten-through-grade-six children chanted during the assembly.

The Girl Scouts planned and paid for the rally that taught their classmates to stop whatever they're doing when a bully starts to pick on them. Then walk away, and talk to an adult right away.

The same set of rules goes for the bully, the girls said.

Stop making hurtful remarks, walk away from the person they're picking on, and talk to an adult about why they needed to make fun of a classmate.

The Girl Scout troop-initiated bullying event was the brain child of the 10 girls who attend the school. They were picked on for wearing their uniforms to school on days the group met after school.

"They bullied us whenever we got dismissed for Girl Scouts," said third-grader Emma Romagnolia, 7. "They said, ÔYou should be broccoli scouts because cookies make you fat.'"

The girls reported the incidents to Troop Leader Bessette, and decided not to retaliate against the bullies. Instead, they would try to make a difference in the way their classmates treat each other.

The presentation cost the troop more than $500 to put on. The girls raised the funds through Girl Scout Cookie sales, according to Bessette.

"They had a choice. They could have chosen to go horseback riding, or do ceramics," Bessette said. "But they chose this. That's what's so inspiring."

The girls wrote skits that showed how bullies treat other people, and how to handle being bullied. The students in the audience were quizzed at the end of each skit to make sure they understood the "stop, walk and talk" concept. The cookie funds bought prizes Ð "Stop. Talk. Walk." T-shirts Ð and treated the classmates to ice cream.

The troop also invited Elk Township Police Officer Cpl. Ed Gonnelli to speak about consequences of bullying as an adult.

Adults can face jail time and fines if convicted of harassment, simple assault or aggravated assault, he said.

"That's how serious this is today, guys," Gonnelli said.

Girl Scouts Gia Unfreed, 9, and Olivia Marchei, 8, hoped their program really hit home with their classmates and friends.

Gia, an Aura third-grader, hopes the students learned "not to bully, or say ÔI bully, and it's wrong,'" she said.

"And to know not to bully any more," third-grader Olivia added. "They (classmates) probably learned their lesson, too."

Girl Scout Kayla Vandvelt, 8, got to see first-hand how the troop's presentation started to make a difference. She witnessed a boy getting bullied during recess after the anti-bullying sessions, she said.

"It made me feel sad, and I told him he just got bullied," said Kayla, in second grade. "He went inside, walked and talked."