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Amber Childres
713-292-0361

GSSJC honors volunteers at Adult Recognition

HOUSTON, Texas (September 2009) – Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) recently honored Girl Scout volunteers, schools, churches and businesses for their service to the organization during the 2008-09 membership year. Honorees included 45 individuals, including three families; seven schools, churches or businesses; and one service unit. In addition, 24 individuals received Membership Numerals.

The Appreciation Pin is a national recognition awarded to registered adults who have given outstanding service above the requirements of the position(s) they have held. They must have served at least one geographic service unit or program delivery audience.

Rebecca Perry has held nearly every leadership position from troop leader to service unit manager. The girls she works with year after year describe her as “smart, fun, exciting, energetic, caring, loving and funny.” She is always willing to give new troop leaders advice and strives to give every girl in her service unit an amazing experience in Girl Scouts.

Becky Truitt likes to do things big. She is responsible for initiating, organizing and executing Delta Skies’ largest recruitment rally ever. Instead of each school holding their own rally Becky organized one massive rally which included stations, crafts, songs, tents and photo ops.

Janet Berlin loves to camp. Whether its day camp, service unit weekends or just teaching a round of campfire songs, she is Hummingbird Way’s go-to gal. If you need camping skills, she can also help there: Janet is an outdoor trainer for GSSJC and a facilitator for basic leadership training.

Joyce Kamla is always willing to lend a helping hand. Whether it’s serving as a troop leader or volunteering as twilight camp director, she’s there. In addition, Joyce also volunteers her time with CPS and local animal shelters.

Thea Fabio has been a volunteer in GSSJC for 17 years. She served as troop leader for all three of her daughter’s troops and her peers hope her “third troop won’t be her last.” Thea has guided all three troops from Daisies to Seniors, overseeing several Gold Award projects during her time.

Kath Williams does it all. From leadership positions to event coordination, she serves every aspect of Red Fern Service Unit. And when that isn’t enough, she creates events: Kath created an “escape school” to teach girls and parents about safety concerns with parents. She also coordinates “Go Green Sunday” with her church, a program that encourages girls to wear their uniform to church services.

Jamie Kivch has worn many hats in her service unit, but it is her love of Girl Scouting for which she was recognized. Jamie has been a member of Girl Scouts her whole life and earned the Gold Award. She promotes GSSJC tirelessly by sharing her experiences with others.

Carol Jenkins only had experience as a troop leader when she came to GSSJC. In 2004, she moved to Galveston and became the adult development manager for South Texas. Although she currently holds a position at UTMB, Carol continues to serve as co-service unit manager in Galveston.

Daren Penewitt is the man you want around for a safe weekend of sailing at Camp Casa Mare. Daren has a wealth of knowledge on safe weather and water conditions when supervising girls participating in the Council’s Mariners program and regularly supervises sailing weekends.

Pam Pavone is described by her peers as “a team player who goes above and beyond the call of duty.” Even though she has no daughter in Girl Scouts, she serves as a troop leader. Pam also serves as an ASUM in GSSJC and has headed service projects for Hurricane Ike victims, local ministries and a women’s shelter.

Susan Busch started her scouting career in Fort Worth. After moving into GSSJC, she began volunteering as a trainer, committee member and steering committee member. She regularly visits the Girl Scout national convention and is described by peers as “fantastic,” “dedicated” and having “lots of great ideas.

Verna Sprowls’ motto is the more, the merrier. She has led two “super troops,” taking in girls from other troops or simply interested in Girl Scouts. Currently, she is leader of a Junior troop. Verna has also served as a trainer, event coordinator and steering committee member.

The Honor Pin is a national award presented to registered adults who provide exceptional service through positive influence on the Council goals and activities of young women. Recipients of this award have served two or more geographic service units or program delivery audiences.

Bonnie Homier has served in nearly every leadership position in her service unit. She often tackles two of these jobs at once, keeping her busy in GSSJC. In addition, she is also co-leader for a troop at the Center for Success and Independence, which provides treatment to youth, ages 12-17, with behavioral, emotional and addictive disorders.

Vicki Gaas loves horses. For nearly 20 years she has volunteered with the SPURS program. She serves as a riding director at camp weekends and helps girls attending Camp Misty Meadows for their basic training. Vicki also holds monthly horsemanship improvement sessions. In addition, she has served as a troop leader, steering committee member and long-time cookie manager.

Robin Kohler is described as “troop leader extraordinaire” by her peers. She serves as leader for multiple troops in addition to running her service unit’s twilight camp, Daisy and Brownie events and holding a position on the service unit leadership team. On the council level, she also serves as an archery instructor and council trainer.

Carol Warren’s wealth of Girl Scout knowledge has benefitting many adults and girls over her years in GSSJC. She annually handles paperwork for the Council’s Aquatic weekend and never misses a page. Carol also has finesse with home-sick campers: she knows just what to say to keep them from dwelling on home and missing out on camp activities.

Dianne Gross continues to volunteer with GSSJC even though her daughter is no longer a Girl Scout. She serves the Council as a Red Cross Instructor and regularly teaches classes in babysitting, first aid and CPR.

Cathy Dillingham has volunteered with Girl Scouts for nearly 50 years. She loves spending time with horses. Early on in her volunteer career, Cathy worked as riding director and with the SPURS program at Camp Peach Creek and Camp Misty Meadows. She keeps girls entertained with her many horse stories. In addition, Cathy served as troop leader for 11 years and has also been a service unit manager and cookie manager.

Gloria LaPoint has seen many girls earn the Gold Award as a member of the advisory committee. She recently stepped up to a chairman position with the committee. Gloria’s wealth of knowledge and patience has helped mentor countless GSSJC scouts who have earned the highest award possible in Girl Scouting.

JoAnn Ward is currently the chair of the board of development committee and has served on the Council’s board of directors since 2003. As associate vice president of public affairs at MD Anderson Cancer Center, JoAnn formed a partnership with GSSJC to raise breast cancer awareness. Her initiative has included an interest project, workshops and awareness efforts by GSUSA.

Since moving to Houston six years ago, Kelly Faga has become involved with GSSJC all across the Council. Her leadership positions have ranged from troop leader and service unit fall product manager to training level coordinator. In 2008, Kelly attended the national convention.

Louise Stout lives for time spent on the water. Whether it’s sailing at Camp Casa Mare or canoeing at Camp Agnes Arnold, she loves teaching girls how to safely navigate their boat. After her daughter’s troop members graduated from high school, Louise became an Outdoor Trainer so she could continue to share her camping knowledge.

Patty Binegar keeps things organized. As membership coordinator for Region V, she works with 23 service unit administrative teams, providing advice, guidance, counseling and coaching to volunteer administrators. In addition, she has also served as a troop leader, event chair and day camp director.

Cathy Wining Thomas wants to see GSSJC succeed at every level. From the board of directors to GSSJC’s capital campaign, she works tirelessly to make the Girl Scout experience better for every girl in our Council. Cathy also created the Dream, Dare, Do program for Senior Girl Scouts, which encourages girls to go after their career goals.

The Family Award recognizes adult family members who have contributed above and beyond the expectations of the positions they hold. Families awarded can be comprised of: husband and wife, mother and adult daughter(s), grandparent and adult daughter(s) or sisters (adults).

Despite their daughter having graduated from scouting, Valerie Weber and Karl Muench have stayed heavily involved in their service unit. Valerie has served as a troop leader, fall product and cookie sales manager and service unit manager. Karl works with the Council’s backpacking group and uses his creativity to create memorable service unit weekends for Girl Scouts.

Going for the gold: for Cindy and Davia Gernand, doing so is all in a day’s work. The mother and daughter focus much of their volunteer time on helping girls earn their Gold Award. Cindy is a member of the Gold Award Advisory Committee and is responsible for creating the Winter Gold Award Ceremony. Davia is a member of the STEM committee and coached the Council’s first Lego League.

For some, day camp is a vacation. That’s the case with Myra and Tim Grubbs, who volunteer with all types of events and camps throughout the year. Each year the couple plan their vacation time around day camp in order to volunteer. They have chaired STRIDERS and are responsible for creating the annual Red Fern Family Picnic, one of the service unit’s most popular and successful events.

The Thanks Badge is a national award presented to registered adults for extraordinary service benefiting the Council or Girl Scout Movement. A miniature trefoil pin is awarded to the spouse of the Thanks Badge recipient.

Linda Craft has your destination. She is the spring of knowledge on the Girl Scout destinations program and is always willing to help girls in GSSJC find the perfect trip. Linda has visited all four Girl Scout World Centers and is a member of the Cane Island Service Unit administrative team.

Diana Artale can best be described as “green” – Girl Scout green, that is. She is heavily involved in the Enchanted Pines Service Unit with jobs ranging from troop leader to Mom & Me event organizer. Diana participates in Green Apple trainings, allowing leaders to come together and share their wisdom and experiences. She is also a master trainer for the Council.

Dolores Richards serves Girl Scouts on the local and national levels. She is a GSUSA delegate, as well as a GSSJC delegate. Dolores is also a basic leadership and outdoor skills trainer; docent chair of the history committee; administrative team member for Friendswood Service Unit; and event organizer for ETC and Urban Campout.

Kay Craig loves to cook. She has been a chef at Camp Agnes Arnold for several years and serves volunteers at camp for trainings. Kay is also a troop leader, service unit manager, Outdoor Trainer, second vice president of Emerald Circle and incoming board of directors’ member.

Colleen Murray didn’t know when she began volunteering as a troop leader she’d end up in leadership position at the council level. Colleen served as manager for Sunrise Service Unit for eight years, took a volunteer position as assistant district chairman in District 4 for two years and currently serves on the Recognition Event committee at the council level.

Carrie Carter is one-of-a-kind. Her fun-loving and kind nature makes her easy to work with in her many positions. Carrie served as the Training Level Coordinator Chair, Daisy and Outdoor Level raining coordinator, Crazy Quilt event chair, is one of three volunteer development department coordinators and a member of the GSSJS Instructor of Trainers Team – and that’s the short list. She has also attended the GSUSA National Convention as a chaperone.

Gail Rankin has been a member of Girl Scouts for 40 years – 10 years as a Girl Scout and 30 years as a volunteer. As a volunteer, she has served in many positions including council trainer. Gail is also her service unit’s go-to person for first aid, leading songs or organizing a campfire ceremony.

Carol Glass spends many of her volunteer hours as a riding director at Camp Misty Meadows. She also is in charge of the offsite horse program in the Council, Love, Hug and Groom, held at other camps or city parks. In addition, Carol is involved with the In-School Scouting Day at GSSJC camps where special needs students have the opportunity to experience the horse riding program.

Leda Kliesing has the creative touch. She regularly designs and decorates for Council events, including the Adult Recognition ceremony. Adding touches from name tags and place settings to creating beautifully unique centerpieces, Leda is the go-to person in GSSJC for helping to create memorable events.

Not only is Nancy Peterson a lifetime Girl Scout, she is also a retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and P Factor Aviation pilot. Her Girl Scout career has spanned over nine councils and seven states. Nancy isn’t afraid to tackle any leadership position. Her posts have included: troop leader, camp counselor, waterfront director, adult trainer, association chair and member of the board of directors in three different councils.

The national Thanks Badge II recognizes an adult member who has received the Thanks Badge and continues to contribute in extraordinary ways that benefit the Council or Girl Scout Movement.

When Betty Magnuson got involved with Girl Scouts, she thought she would just help her troop make crafts. Today, she is a GSSJC board member and has held several leadership positions throughout the Council. Betty is also a council cook and enjoys the Beyond the Bars program. She also enjoys travelling and has visited two of the four Girl Scout World Centers.

The San Jacinto Council Continuing Service Award is presented to registered adults who have received the Thanks Badge and continue to give exceptional service. A “Thank You” grove of trees is maintained at Camp Agnes Arnold’s Training Complex as a visible reminder of their generous contributions.

Marceline Lamb started as a co-leader in 1973 and, as she describes, “it kept going from there.” At one point, Marceline was leader of three troops, simultaneously. Currently, she is leader of her granddaughter’s daisy troop. Marceline has served in every leadership position within her service unit, has been a council trainer and chaired numerous council committees.

Most people in GSSJC don’t know Debbie Erickson as Debbie – she’s known by her camp name, “Sugar.” As resident camp director at Camp Agnes Arnold, she’s spent her summers touching the lives of thousands of girls. In addition, Debbie is a council trainer, reserve ranger and archery instructor.

Patti Glass enjoys living in the past. As assistant director of the Girl Scout Fashion Show, co-chair of the museum activities committee and secretary of the history committee, Patti spends most of her time teaching girls about the history of Girl Scouting. She also serves on several committees throughout the Council.

Ervin Chew Award

This award is named in honor of the late Ervin Chew, an outstanding GSSJC volunteer and board member. The recognition is given to the individual who has best demonstrated the Council’s commitment to pluralism during the past membership year.

Joan Gilliland is a troop leader for a group of girls at the Center for Success and Independence. The Center provides treatment to youth, ages 12-17, with behavioral, emotional and addictive disorders. Joan meets with the girls once a week and they participate in activities from crafts and service projects to swimming and even overnight trips of one of GSSJC’s camps.

Several years ago Kelli Conway’s established troop merged with another struggling troop, one of whose members was handicapped. The girl’s sister was also in the troop and their mother was anxious for them to continue with Girl Scouts as a way to spend time together. As troop leader, Kelli has been able to adapt activities and projects over the years so no girl is left out, including field trips and even the troop’s Bronze Award project.

The President’s Award is given to a service unit that demonstrates growth, leadership and overall excellence.

Prairie Rose Service Unit was awarded for their leadership team’s continued excellence. The team of five women increased their service unit’s membership, promote fund development and increase their annual giving to the Council, among other requirements. Members include: Martha Macrae, Mary Ellen Herbert, Nikki Chang, Cindy Crooks and Lori Ann Helm.

The Community Award is for outstanding support from an individual or group within the community over an extended period of time. Individuals or groups receiving an award do not have to be registered members of Girl Scouting. GSSJC provides three Community Awards based on length and type of service: Certificate of Appreciation, Walnut Plaque and Laser Plaque.

Holmsley Elementary School received the Community Award Walnut Plaque for their continued support of Girl Scouts. For the past eight years, Holmsley has allowed volunteers to hold recruitment rallies and send home fliers notifying parents. The school also allows troops to meet in their facilities after school.

Austin Parkway Elementary School received the Certificate of Appreciation for their continuing efforts to promote Girl Scouting. The school allows troops to use their facilities for after-school meetings and the principal, Donna Whisonant, was instrumental in helping local service units hold kick-off rallies in the school gym last year. Additionally, school administrators refer parents with interested daughters to Girl Scouting.

Fidel Savign, manager of Chase Bank at Airline and Tidwell, received the Certificate of Appreciation for his support of GSSJC cookie sales. Fidel allowed Troop #3241 to sell cookies in front of his bank on Saturday mornings. “This year the customers even asked employees when the girls would be there selling cookies,” says nominator Vicki Mireles.

Kathy Newman, Cypress Fairbanks ISD’s facilities use and records manager, received the Certificate of Appreciation for her support during the 2008-09 membership year rallies. Following Hurricane Ike, several rallies were displaced and Kathy worked hard to ensure every troop had a place to meet.

Santa Fe Family Worship Center received the Certificate of Appreciation for their continued support of Girl Scouts. The church regularly opens their doors to various troop meetings, adult trainings and other meetings. “The volunteer with the church is always available to provide tables, chairs, and other equipment to meet the needs of the specific event being provided,” says nominator Jamie Kivch.

Southminister Presbyterian School received the Certificate of Appreciation for their continued support of Girl Scouts. The school helps promote Girl Scouts through “Meet the Teacher” night, ice cream socials, basic leadership training and allows bi-weekly meetings of troops.

The Bellaire Optimist Club received the Community Award Laser Plaque for their continued support of Girl Scouts. In 2003 the club began offering not only a place for Girl Scouts to hold meetings, including Gold Award ceremonies and receptions, but also gave two deserving Girl Scouts a college scholarship and pay for one girl from the area to go to camp each year.

Membership Numerals are recognition for the adult who has been a registered member of Girl Scouts, given in increments of five years. Awards are received starting at 25 years and can be for time for girl and/or adult years of service.

25 Years: Heidi Karpen, Carolyn Sue Vann, Cynthia Wilkins, Chris Dunning, Sara Rushing, Dianne Gross

30 Years: Colleen Murray, Kathy Hopper, Daren Penewitt, LeeAnn McGuinn, Cindy Costales, Barbara Story, Tania Tolbert

35 Years: Linda Slade, Carolyn McKee, Louise Stout, Teresa Austin

40 Years: Jane Mahavier, Nylda Comeaux

45 Years: Ann Clark, Sharon Knust Hawley

50 Years: Carol Warren, Karen Penewitt, Debbie Erickson