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Mona Tolbert
(713) 292-0361

GSSJC Holds Annual Adult Recognition Event

HOUSTON (June 20, 2011) – Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) recently honored more than 50 Girl Scout volunteers, families and service units for their service to the organization during the 2010-2011 membership year.

Membership Numerals

Membership Numeral awards are given to adults every five years who have been a girl or adult member of Girl Scouts for at least 25 years.

55 Year Numeral

Discovering the outdoors is a major part of Girl Scouting. Many girls owe this experience to Margaret Smith, an active Council trainer who logged more than a thousand hours training volunteers to take girls camping. She is also a Thanks Badge II recipient and a History Committee project volunteer at the Girl Scout Center.

50 Year Numeral

As a Girl Scout from Brownie to Senior level, Kathryn Robertson found her passion in Girl Scouting: her experience as a counselor for Brownie Day Camp helped her decide to teach. She introduced all four of her daughters to Girl Scouts, and they all graduated the Girl Scout program as Seniors. Kathryn has been a troop leader, neighborhood chair and a National Delegate to the Girl Scouts of the USA convention held in Washington D.C. Through her work, the American Association of University Women and chair of the Expanding Your Horizons conference at Stephen F. Austin University for girls in grades sixth through eighth, Kathryn has reached out to Girl Scouts in the Nacogdoches area.

45 Year Numeral

Vicki Freeman has been a girl member of Girl Scouts for 11 years and a volunteer since her days as a student at Wichita State University. During her career, she has been a troop volunteer, troop leader, trainer, delegate, trip coordinator, chair of several committees and a world ambassador to seven United States councils and overseas.

40 Year Numeral

As the chair of the 52nd National Convention in Houston, Penny will play an instrumental role in the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary celebration in November. Penny also serves as parliamentarian for the Council’s board of directors and as a cook at service unit events, ETC training events and trainers’ weekends. She has spent 25 of her 40 years as an adult volunteer in GSSJC. Before coming to the Council, she volunteered in Mile Hi and Wichita Area Girl Scout Councils. Penny has also been recognized with the Thanks Badge and the Continuing Service award.

Jayne Roberts serves as a docent with the History Committee and a dresser for the Vintage Fashion Show. She has also served as President of the Emerald Circle and has helped with the Urban Campout Silent Auction. She has been in Girl Scouts since she was a Brownie in South Texas Council.

Sherry Williams started her Girl Scout career camping at Camp Martha Madley, attending the Grand Ompah Cadette Event and cooking Thanksgiving dinner with her troop at Camp Casa Mare. Sherry continued as a troop leader when her two daughters became Girl Scouts and later when her twin granddaughters started as Daisies. During her career, Sherry was also presented the Thanks Badge by her former leader, Jean Lieder.

Beth Watkins, a Thanks Badge II recipient, became a troop leader long before she had a daughter of her own. As the driving force behind the Take Note Council Choir, Beth regularly leads more than 40 choir members to sing for thousands of Houston Astros fans, a former president and first lady and at Dickens on the Strand for the last six years. In 2009, Beth also took seven girls and three adults on a trip to Our Cabana and Mexico City. In addition, she arranged leadership opportunities for the girls that included leading sing-a-longs and Junior Badge Workshops.

35 Year Numeral

Michele Kinser-Evans started a Junior and Daisy troop at Isaacs Elementary. She also served as the service unit manager, the assistant service unit manager, the product sales manager, a delegate for her service unit and a member of the Council’s Day/Twilight Camp Committee. In addition, she received the Outstanding Leader Award, Outstanding Volunteer Award, Appreciation Pin and the Family Award with her husband, Brad Evans.

As the volunteer develop manager, Donna processes all the volunteer applications to ensure the girls are kept safe. Donna began her Girl Scout career as a troop leader and then as a service unit manager in the Happy Trails Service Unit. She joined the staff in 1986 as a registrar for resident camp in the program department. Since then, she has been a membership manager and purchasing manager for the Girl Scout shop.

30 Year Numeral

In his 30 years as a volunteer overseas and in five United States Councils, Steve Freeman has been a troop volunteer, co-leader, facilitator of girl and adult trainings, trip coordinator, reserve ranger and event chair. Recently his knowledge of Camp Wind-a-Mere assisted him in serving on the Camp Utilization Committee. He has also been a great asset to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) committee.

Paul Roberts became a member of Girl Scouts when his daughter became a Brownie. He attended numerous trainings, so he could bring more opportunities back to the troop. Paul was involved in backpacking, volunteering with the Pack Rats and later with the Skillet-Benders. Paul is often seen at Gold Award, Senior Recognitions and Adult Recognition events snapping pictures of recipients and capturing memories.

Robin Kohler is always willing to open her troop to just one more girl. She has taken numerous girls on trips to Yellow Stone National Park and is always willing to take on more responsibilities in the Council. She has been an archery instructor, twilight camp director, assistant service unit manager and council trainer. Robin has also held several fantastic Outdoor Cooking Workshops.

25 Year Numeral

Patty Binegar, an Honor Pin recipient and dedicated volunteer, has a schedule most would find exhausting. She has been a troop leader, event chair, day camp director, area advisor, membership coordinator, outdoor trainer, chair of the Outdoor Trainers’ Retreat and chair of the Adult Recognition Committee. Moreover, she carries out all her duties while maintaining a full-time job.

Although both her daughters have graduated the Girl Scouts program, Cynthia Hendricks continues to stay involved in Girl Scouting. Cynthia has been a troop leader, Council trainer, service unit fall product manager, cookie manager and twilight camp unit leader. She has also handled the finances for her service unit for the past five years.

No detail is too small for Marceline Lamb. As an Adult Recognition Committee member, she played a major part in event decorations and ensuring the event went smoothly. Marceline is also a Council trainer, Product Sales Committee member, and Recognition Event Committee member. Three years ago, she started over as a troop leader for her granddaughter.

Julie Lock has been in Girl Scouts since she was a child. She went on two destinations trips, was a member of SPURS at Peach Creek and earned her Silver and Gold Awards. Now Julie is the leader of her three daughters’ troops, a service unit recognitions dinner coordinator and a volunteer with the Bug Juicer’s Outdoor Camping Group.

The seven years Becky Perry spent as a Girl Scout left a deep impression, one that she says has grown over the years. As a young adult, Becky volunteered as a leader in the Southwest Skies Service Unit, eventually serving as her oldest daughter’s troop leader. She was also a Brownie level consultant, Council delegate, service unit training coordinator, assistant service unit manager and service unit manager.

Natalie Meador, a Gold Award and Lifetime Membership recipient, has been a Girl Scout since 1985. She has volunteered as a school recruitment coordinator and at service unit meetings. During her college years, Natalie volunteered on weekends and holidays with her younger sister’s troop, teaching songs, crafts, and camping skills and helping to plan troop trips. She has also served as her oldest daughter’s troop leader since 2009 and is on track to becoming the Lansdale Service Unit manager.

Linda Simmons has been a troop leader in the Sunshine Service Unit for 25 years. She is also a Troop Consultant for new Brownie and Junior Leaders and head cook at the Sunshine Service Unit Weekend. In addition, she has served as a Council trainer and as a committee member on a Crazy Quilt training event.

Despite not having a daughter in Girl Scouts, Kay Craig is a fun-loving and dedicated troop leader, outdoor trainer and Council cook, who follows in the footsteps of Juliette Low. For six years, she has served as the service unit manager for Spring Woods Service Unit and has chaired several successful events including the 2001 MDC event and three Trainers’ Weekends. Kay is also a part of the Emerald Circle.

The Community Award

Individuals or groups within the community receive the award for supporting Girl Scouts over an extended period of time. Those receiving an award do not have to be registered members of Girl Scouts. GSSJC provides three Community Awards based on length and type of service: Certificate of Appreciation, Walnut Plaque and Laser Plaque.

Anthony Fasone earned the Certificate of Appreciation for promoting the Girl Scout Cookie Share program for the past four years and working with troops to ship thousands of boxes of cookies to soldiers overseas. This month alone, Anthony helped the Girl Scouts ship 4,600 boxes– the highest amount ever.

The Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church earned the Laser Plaque for hosting all of Woodland Forest Service Unit’s events and trainings for the past 10 years, including Basic Leadership Training, Event Basics and Weekend Event Planning. The church has also provided the appropriate size rooms, assisted with any changes the service unit may need and provided technical equipment.

Westminster Presbyterian Church earned the Walnut Plaque award for aiding many local Girl Scout Troops after a severe hurricane destroyed the troops’ facilities. Although the church is small with only 100 members, it found space for all the local troops, staff and girls in need.

University of Houston earned the Walnut Plaque for its Coordination of Robotics Education program (CORE). CORE has been offering support and providing workshops to girls and adults since 2007. With CORE sponsorship, many girls have increased their knowledge, competed in teams and as individuals, and enjoyed many programs in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and robotics.

The Woodlands Christian Church earned its Walnut plaque. As home to the Girl Scouts in Country Meadows Service Unit for more than 10 years, the church allows the service unit to use its facilities for monthly meetings and events such as the annual Cookie Kick Off and recognition events without ever requesting a fee. The staff has also always been friendly, accommodating and helpful to the troops who meet there.

Copperfield Church earned the Community Service Laser Plaque for serving the Girl Scouts in Hummingbird Way and neighboring service units for more than fifteen years. The church regularly offers its facilities for troop meetings, Basic Leadership Trainings and monthly service unit meetings. The church has also hosted events such as Daisy Day, Recognition Banquets, Mother/Daughter Teas and a Brownie Lock-In.

Appreciation Pin

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

Thanks to Margaret Carrell and her family’s dedication, the archery program is one of the strongest programs in the council. As an outdoor trainer, she has used her gift of leadership and teaching to prepare both girls and adults to enjoy the camping experience. Margaret volunteers as range master, AIM coordinator and more.

Friendswood Service Unit counts themselves lucky to have Kara Osborne. She is a troop leader, steering committee member, service unit treasurer, troop consultant, event coordinator, robotics team coach, archery instructor and a day and twilight camp co-director. In addition, she used her knowledge and love of science to develop and facilitate a science workshop at the ETC training event last fall.

Melody Cay-Rice knows what interests girls. As the adult inspiration and driving force at MacGregor Elementary school for the past 25 years, Melody has used her knowledge to increase enrollment in the Museum Oaks Service Unit. Melody serves as a troop leader, cheer leader and general recruitment coordinator for the school. Hundreds of girls have had the opportunity to grow with the benefits of Girl Scouting as a result of her dedication. In addition to the Junior troop and Cadette troop she leads, she handles email communication and serves as trip coordinator for all five troops at the school and helps coordinate the camping trips.

Sunshine Service Unit has a very valuable asset in senior leader Renee Edmond. As a Gold Award recipient, she knows girls benefit from staying in Girl Scouts for the duration. That’s why when she assumed leadership of Senior Troop #4343 and Ambassador Troop #21196, she set out to change girls’ attitudes with her fresh ideas and bring back girls who had drifted away. With Renee’s encouragement, many girls decided to attain their Gold Award.

Woodland Forest Service Unit credits much of its cookie-sale success to Jan Brodhead, who has served as co-cookie manager for the past three years. Although her daughter graduated, Jan continues to use her experience as a fall product manager and cookie manager of Troop #8607 to make sure cookie sales run smoothly for Woodland Forest. Her duties include making numerous phone calls and organizing additional trainings to show new cookie managers how the online process works. Jan has also made arrangements to send cookies to our military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jim Lippert, who volunteers with his wife Pam Lippert, is well known in the Hummingbird Way Service Unit for his skills in the kitchen. He is also known throughout the Council for participating in cooking events including ETC and Cadette Events. He even finds time to cook for the Green Starlettes and several Mariners’ weekends. In addition, he volunteered his climate controlled garage to be the home to one of the largest cookie cupboards in council history for several weeks at a time.

Mary Merlau knows the value of service projects. In the Friendswood Service Unit, she has led her troop in numerous workshops for younger girls. Because she ties a service project to each workshop, the girls can benefit from the events. Mary has also served on the service team, provided guidance to new leaders and is always willing to help.

As the Friendswood Service Unit Cookie Manager, David Dannemiller keeps the service unit, troop leaders and cookie managers informed about cookie deadlines. He reviews the online cookie training, taking notes to send detailed instructions to the troop cookie managers. David also volunteered for the S.T.E.M. event at United Space Alliance. He helped organize the event and shared his love of engineering with the girls during the careers session. He also served as an assistant leader in his daughter’s Brownie troop.

At only six weeks old, Joel Erickson attended his first Brownie Troop meeting with his older sister and mom, the troop’s co-leader. He learned his favorite sport, archery, at Camp Arnold’s resident camp. When Joel turned 18, he became a volunteer instructor for events at camp and soon took the Level 2 course, so he could teach adult classes. When the Archers in Motion Interest Group formed, Joel developed a database to keep all the girls’ records straight and instructed the girls monthly for the first two years of the program. He now takes vacation days to attend the AIM end-of-the year tournament and recognition program to fulfill his duties as the range master at Camp Misty Meadows.

Theresa Harris has served the Woodland Forest Service Unit from leader to registrar to assistant service unit manager. She also plays a major role in The Woodlands area day camps by organizing the older girls and offering program aide training. In addition, Theresa ensures girls participate in the annual July 4 parade.

As the driving force of Girl Scouting in Museum Oaks Service Unit, Donna Stephens has led several troops from Daisies at MacGregor Elementary to Ambassadors. Donna makes sure that product sales are available throughout the Museum Oaks Service Unit and personally oversees every cookie booth held by the five MacGregor Elementary troops.

When Joe Carrell first took the Archery Instructor’s training course in 2007, he intended to just fill an instructor’s spot for his daughter’s troop. However, Joe soon discovered that he not only enjoyed the sport, he excelled at it. He decided to take his training to the second instructor level to work with the AIM group, where he serves as the AIM Advanced coordinator. Joe has also assisted with teaching the Basic Instructor class several times.

Honor Pin

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

Linda Suttles, a volunteer of the Museum Oaks Service Unit, has more than 20 years of adult Girl Scouting experience. Linda has taken three troops through graduation as well as worked first aid among many service unit events. She even came to a weekend in the snow when her own girls decided to pass. She also introduced many girls to track and field events during STRIDERS. She has also been a mariner coordinator, sailing instructor and fall product manager.

As a leader, basic leadership training facilitator and council cook, Pam Lippert never just does what’s required of her; she far exceeds it. She helped plan Hummingbird Way Service Unit weekend while chairing the Adult Recognitions Committee and more. At council events, she can cook for a few or over 600, all while having a blast. She has volunteered in every capacity where needed. Because of Pam’s leadership, girls have stayed in the program. She listens and the girls treasure her. The smile on her face makes you smile.

Thanks Badge

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. The Thanks Badge II is awarded to outstanding Council volunteers who have already earned the Thanks Badge.

Frances Browning has taught hundreds of girls outdoor skills in the last 25 years. She develops the outdoor curriculum and assists with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs (STEM). In addition, she represented GSSJC at the most recent National Convention and co-chaired the "Stars in the City" event using the NASA portable planetarium, teaching Cadettes and Juniors sky mapping and how to identify stars, constellations and planets.

After attending more than 100 trainings, Lynda Starbuck has earned the reputation as the queen of training in the Sunflower Service Unit. She has served as an Adult Recognition Committee member, council trainer since 2008, Product Sales Operational Committee member and on many other committees and planning boards. This year she started a transition troop to help new leaders during their troops’ application, training, and approval processes. Lynda volunteered to lead mega meetings every two to three weeks until the new troops were established and meeting regularly. During the meetings, Lynda also helped the adults with their paperwork and trainings, acted as their fall product manager and kept the new troops from losing interest. By the time the troops starting meeting regularly, they had a start-up fund, had been on a field trip and had leaders confident in their roles.

Just like Juliette Gordon Low, Janet Heppard began her volunteer career long before she gave birth to her daughter. She first joined as a Junior troop leader and stayed with her troop through Seniors. She has been a Council trainer since 1989 and has served on event committees at the service unit, district and Council levels. She also co-chaired the Crazy Quilt training event for the volunteer development department and chaired the Robinwood Tree Planting event and Arbor Day event. Her experience as a practicing attorney for the Harris County Family Law Service handling child abuse and domestic violence cases also led her to design and implement two Green Apple workshops to address abuse. In addition, she accompanied the Take Note Choir to Washington D.C. in 1997 and to Our Cabana in 2009. She plans to chaperone the choir members for the 2012 sing-a-long in D.C. to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouting.

Thanks Badge II

As the volunteer coordinator of the program department since 2003, Marion Hazon works hard to fill volunteer positions; however, she works equally as hard volunteering herself.

Marion has volunteered during several adult weekends and Gold Award Committee meetings. She also trained to become an active challenge course facilitator after noticing the Council had a shortage. In addition, Marion chaperoned a council trip to Mexico in 2009 and helped the girls plan all the activities. Marion is also the senior program coordinator and chair of the Camp Utilization Task Force, which examines camp assets and suggests camp improvements to entice girls and their leaders to go camping more in the future. Moreover, Marion and her partner volunteered months of their time to develop, tweak and revise the Safety Activity Checkpoints document, which now has a home on the Council’s website.

Continuing Service

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.

Vicki Freeman has been a Girl Scout volunteer since she was a student at Wichita State University. She has been a troop volunteer, camp trained adult, troop leader, trainer, delegate, trip coordinator, international trainer, event chair, Board Nominating Committee chair, member of the Board, World Ambassador and more. She has served seven councils at home and overseas. In addition, Vicki has been an asset to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) committee contributing not only ideas, but recruiting new volunteers and community partners.

Steve Freeman has been a Girl Scout volunteer since his daughter was a Junior. In his 26 years as a volunteer overseas and in five US Councils, he has been a troop volunteer, co-leader, trainer of girls and adults, trip coordinator, volunteer ranger and event chair. Steve has a love of the outdoors. He created an even for older girls at Camp Wind-a-Mere and has been a great asset to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) committee, Volunteer Development and to the Council properties.

Family Award

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.

Sandra and Chris Davis began their Girl Scout career in the Hummingbird Service Unit 10 years ago. Sandra began as a leader and Chris as a Do-Dad with Troop #5557 and has since then progressed even further. Sandra has served as the service unit’s fall products manager and most recently as an assistant service unit manager over finance. Chris has served as chair of the STRIDERS event for three years. The couple even contributed to the service unit weekend event. They attend the Girl Planning Board meetings to hear what the girls wanted then coordinated the games rotation for the event to meet their suggestions and ideas.

President’s Award

The President’s Award is given to service units demonstrating growth, leadership and overall excellence.

For the second consecutive year, the Compass Rose Service Unit reached their membership goal and retained 81 percent of their troops. In addition, the service unit began offering a Destination Scholarship in honor of Julia Briggs who was an avid Girl Scout with aspirations to participate in the destination program before her untimely death. Compass Rose also created a gift card tree to promote reading as their Urban Campout basket donation.

The Friendswood Service Unit exceeded their membership goal by 25 girls for a total of 325 girls and retained 87 percent of their troops and 79 percent of the troops’ leadership teams. The service unit also had 100 percent of its team donate to the Leadership for a Lifetime campaign and gave an Italian Motif basket for the silent auction at Urban Campout.

The Majestic Forest Service Unit found troops for all the girls whose troops did not return for the 2008-2009 membership year. The service unit also collaborated with other service units in the area to instigate creative community recruitment events after Conroe ISD banned outside groups’ flyers. The team also supported the twilight and day camps in the Woodlands area, which plays an important role in retention and recruitment of new girls and leaders.

The Meadowbrook Service Unit, a past President’s Award recipient, exceeded their membership goal by 40 girls. They retained 16 of their 17 troops registered in the 2008-2009 membership year. Members of the service unit also surpassed their Leadership for a Lifetime contributions.

The Spring Flowers Service Unit found creative ways to distribute Girl Scout information after Conroe ISD banned outside groups’ flyers. The service unit contacted troop leaders, registered adults and individual registered girls through an online group and posted minutes from previous meetings online to keep everyone informed. In addition, leaders regularly promoted Leadership for a Lifetime at monthly meetings to help increase contributions from their service unit.

The White Oak Service Unit surpassed their recruitment goal by 15 girls and held recruitment events at three elementary schools. The service unit also had 42 of their 45 troops register for the 2009-2010 membership year and 95 percent of troop leadership return. White Oak Service Unit also donates a basket for Urban Campout’s silent auction every year and regularly promotes Leadership for a Lifetime at monthly service unit meetings.

The Wildwood Service Unit exceeded their 700 member goal and retained 75 percent of their troop and group leadership, with their successful fall recruitment events. The service unit team also regularly promoted Leadership for a Lifetime at their service unit meetings. Troops in the service unit are also active in the community and often volunteer for Cypress Assistance Ministry and Katy Assistance Ministry. The troops also donated cookies to Ronald McDonald House and American Armed Services.

Ervan Chew Award

The Ervan Chew award is unique to the Council and was established in memory of GSSJC volunteer Ervan Chew, whose service to young people, pluralism and the community exemplifies the Girl Scout ideal. To receive the award, recipients had to contribute significantly to the values of pluralism, make an impact on Girl Scouting through community pluralism and show commitment to the Girl Scout mission and the pluralism statement. Those who receive the award must have previously received the Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II, both given for exceptional volunteerism, and have continued to show a high level of commitment to the Council. The 2011 Ervan Chew award went to GSSJC volunteer Charlean Wiggins. As an assistant service unit manager and a troop leader of two, Charlean works with girls of diverse backgrounds regularly. Both of her troops are multi-level and culturally diverse, but one is exclusively for the girls who live at the Sinclair Center in Woodville. The Sinclair Center is a home for children under the care of Child Protective Services. Every week, Charlean and her co-leader hold troop meetings at the center to give the girls the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, teach them cooperative learning and encourage them to pursue badges and other Girl Scout programs.

Charlean also serves as chairperson for the Relay for Life campaign in Tyler County, a committee member on the Junior Disabled Veterans Auxiliary and Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary and a volunteer for Vacation Bible School at Dogwood Hills Baptist Church. In addition, she teaches children with special needs at Woodville I.S.D. and recently adopted a child from the Sinclair School.

About Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 76,000 girls served and nearly 18,000 adult members in 26 southeast Texas counties.


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