Spirit of NH Awards honored four Girl Scout volunteers and alum group
BEDFORD, NH – Striving to make the world a better place doesn’t end when a Girl Scout becomes an adult. For many alums, the work continues as a volunteer. Four Girl Scout volunteers and one group are among those who have been chosen by Volunteer NH to be recognized this year with their Spirit of NH Awards.
Volunteer NH has hosted these awards as an annual celebration of volunteerism since 2003. They recognize those who go above and beyond the call to serve throughout the Granite State, shining a spotlight on the often unsung heroes among us in front of an audience of their families, friends, colleagues, and the greater community.
Girl Scout volunteers chosen for recognition include Emma Hansen, 18, of Salem, NH, for Youth/Young Adult Volunteer; Deborah Drake, 64, of Windham, NH, and Corinne George, 52, of Lee, NH for Adult Volunteer; Martha Manley, 78, of Peterborough, NH, for Senior Volunteer; and the Alumnae Association Board of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains for Volunteer Group.
“This is exciting recognition for the hard work of the volunteers and great to share with the community what our organization does,” said Carrie Green Loszewski, Vice President of Engagement for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, the council which serves girls across New Hampshire and Vermont.
An awards ceremony was live-streamed from the Bank of NH stage on Wednesday, Nov. 17, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/QbOARGquHrs.
Girl Scout alumnae chosen to receive the Spirit of New Hampshire Awards were:
Adult Volunteer - Corinne George - George has led a troop of a Girl Scouts since they were in kindergarten and are now in junior high, and has recently started a second troop for girls in grades 2-3. She volunteers as a trainer and new leader mentor for the council’s service unit, assisting troops in Nottingham, Madbury, Durham, Barrington, Lee, and Strafford. She guides the girls and leaders in their annual Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program, and has spearheaded community events for the six towns in her unit such as coordinating Girl Scout Cookie booths, World Thinking Day and Girl Scout Week celebrations, Girl Scout Derby, a community camping trip, a leaders’ dinner, bridging ceremonies, and more. Not only do the girls benefit from a rich, experiential program, her service unit has flourished because of her focused and inspirational approach to rebuilding their team.
“Corinne has exuberance and tenacity to not only succeed but to excel,” said Robin Boyd, manager of product sales for the Girl Scout council. “Her enthusiasm is infectious, and as a result, adult membership in her service unit has become unified and have grown. She inspires those on her team and as a result, the girls in her community have abundant opportunities for growth.”
“I love Girl Scouts and it been an important part of my life, creating opportunities and positive experiences for girls in our community!” said George.
Adult Volunteer – Deborah Drake – Drake has been one of the strongest volunteers for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains for decades. She has been honored with the Torchbearer award, Thanks Badge, and Honor Pin, the highest national awards available to adult Girl Scout volunteers. Many New Hampshire and Vermont Girl Scouts know her as the director of Farnsworth Weekend, a weekend-long opportunity for adult Girl Scout volunteers and older Girl Scouts to attend leadership and enrichment workshops. She’s been a National Council Delegate, attending the Girl Scouts’ National Convention in Houston in 2011 and Salt Lake City in 2014, where she influenced national policy change.
She has been a Girl Scout trainer/facilitator for new leaders, a Service Unit Manager where she managed over 30 Girl Scout troops and volunteers in Windham, as well as managed their cookie sales. Drake was a Girl Scout as a child, and became a First Class Girl Scout, the equivalent of today’s Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn. She was a Girl Scout leader in the late 1990s to early 2000s and served several years on the Gold Award committee, where she advised and coached over 100 of our oldest girl members towards earning the highest award.
Deb became a master trainer for the organization so that she could train, mentor and empower other Girl Scout volunteers. She is known for training over 5,000 new volunteers in leadership and the Girl Scout program over her 26 years as a volunteer and has impacted, directly and indirectly, nearly 200,000 girls. In addition, she has trained and mentored approximately 20 new trainers in order to support the growing organization with over a thousand new Girl Scout leaders each year.
“For Deb, there are no obstacles, merely challenges that can always be met and resolved and has the ability to empower others,” said DeeDee Rice, volunteer support specialist for the Girl Scout council. “With two master’s degrees, Deb really is a role model for the girls and volunteers to look up to. And when she’s not helping Girl Scouts, she’s involved in her town, helping with annual celebrations, running the town’s scavenger hunt each year, as well as President of the Windham Garden Club, where they raise funds for college scholarships.”
“It’s been the camaraderie, the women I meet, the people I meet,” Drake said. “It’s amazing how much I’ve learned through Girl Scout training that I bring back to my workplace. Some of the teamwork, building teams of people, from different walks of life and with different skills, who work together to make the world a better place.”
Senior Volunteer – Martha Manley – Manley has been active in Girl Scouting for more than 50 years. She served as a troop leader and trainer in three different councils, and had a Girl Scout troop here and Girl Guide unit in Liberia. She is a CPA, has served on the GSGWM board, is a member of the Friends of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) USA committee, and is a retired newspaper publisher.
Since 2019, she has served as the First Vice President of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains Board of Directors. In this role, she is responsible for guiding the governance of the council. She is very engaged with the fund development efforts for the council as well as assisting with events. She secured many gifts and pledges for our most recent capital campaign.
She often serves as a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts and is known to drop off boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to friends and neighbors to start a conversation about the organization. In 2020, Manley served as a National Council delegate for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains for the National Convention. She met with local volunteers to gather feedback on ballot questions, attended numerous virtual trainings and then participated in four full-day virtual governance sessions to direct the future of the national organization. Prior to her role on the Board of Directors, she served as a member of several board committees including chairing the GSGWM Audit Committee and serving on the Finance Committee.
In 2018, Martha was awarded the Thanks Badge by the Girl Scouts for her lifetime contributions to the organization. The work of Manley and the other members of the GSGWM Board of Directors ensures that the Girl Scout organization remains strong and able to provide high quality programming to the girls we serve.
Manley is always willing to step in and assist. She is able to bring her expertise and passion to support numerous projects within our organization. Her lifetime commitment to Girl Scouting truly shines in the roles she has recently served with our board of directors
"I give because I can pay back for all that I have received,” said Manley. “I give in thanks for what Girl Scouting offered to my daughters. I give to support girls today, to offer them the opportunities that I had. Most of all, I give because I believe that Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place."
"Her efforts and presence in our communities across Vermont and New Hampshire are the keys to sharing our voice and strengthening the mission of our organization in building girls of courage, confidence and character," said council CEO Patricia K. Mellor. "What she does, what she says, and her continued involvement has a positive and powerful influence on the lives of the more than 10,000 girls we serve."
While some may have stepped back from volunteering once they retired from a busy career, Martha did not. She continued to give and support our organization. Her wisdom, experience and committee are unmatched and invaluable resources for the Girl Scouts.
Youth/Young Adult Volunteer – Emma Hansen – Inspired at a young age to make the world a better place, Gold Award Girl Scout Hansen has done just that with her Be the Change project. For the over 12 years that Hansen has been a member of Girl Scouts, she has developed skills and given back to her community in various ways. Her volunteer work culminated in the last two years with the work she did toward her Gold Award. She worked on a trio of projects to boost civic awareness and education for her community and beyond. She advocated for renovations to Woodbury Middle School, created a virtual event for Girl Scout Brownies to earn their Democracy badge, and wrote a children’s book called “Mom for Mayor.” Her hard work and dedication earned her Girl Scouting’s highest honor for girls in grades 9-12, the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Hansen is passionate about making a difference in her community. She see the potential of engaging children in the election process so they become informed citizens. She had to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 in the midst of her volunteer work, but did not let that stop her. She pivoted to providing activities for girls online and publishing her own books to encourage children to learn about the process of running for office
Emma's work to promote civic engagement stretches well beyond her work with Girl Scouts. She was inspired to write about the campaign process when she volunteered for the Pete Buttigieg for President campaign in 2019. She spent about 100 hours canvassing and took leadership positions in the campaign. After the 2016 election results, she decided we need people to get involved if we want to see change. She started attending Democratic Party meetings, worked at the polls as a greeter and a ballot clerk, and became invested in politics, campaigning, and working for her community. She even started a civics club at Salem High School. She gained a lot of networking skills and built her confidence up, talking to people who were older than her. She now attends Roger Williams University, studying elementary education.
Volunteer Group – Alumnae Association Board – The GSGWM Alumnae Advisory Board members are volunteers who hold leadership positions within the council’s Alumnae Association. They include Chairperson Megan Cuddy of Dover, NH; Shanna Bertrand of Hyde Park, VT; Jacie Crump of Nashua, NH; Dr. Patricia Edwards of Bow, NH; Deborah Drake of Windham, NH; Candy Hamacher of Waterbury Center, VT; Abby MacGregor of Northampton, MA; and Alexandra Plack of Bow, NH.
The main beneficiaries are our over 800 Alumnae Association members. The board and its subcommittees plan community service, social, and give-back events. Some of their recent events have allowed them to request and collect donations for rainy day activities for our resident campers; they have attended recruitment events to help spread the word about Girl Scout opportunities; and planned several social events, such as hiking and kayaking. While they do good deeds or provide a service for other groups, the opportunity to come together with like-minded adults and develop continued connections within an organization they are passionate about is one of the biggest benefits our Alumnae Association members receive.
The women currently on this board are all very passionate about Girl Scouting and the value it has added to their lives. They are also passionate about helping other adults to connect to this organization that gave them such great life skills and moments as children. Their level of commitment is a characteristic that is truly inspiring – most of these women are balancing their careers, families, and other volunteer commitments (whether within or outside of Girl Scouting).
“I think these women help others to see that there is a great benefit to focusing on oneself and having something that you are passionate about helps provide balance to your life,” said Kristine Jones, manager of marketing/communications and events for the Girl Scout council. “Through some of the social events they plan – they allow Girl Scout volunteers to connect with each other. For example, a group of our Alumnae traveled to England and Switzerland to visit two of the Girl Scout World Centers. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for many of the women on the trip and they all share a great bond over having this experience together.”
One of the goals of this group this year, is to focus on the young Girl Scout alum and get them involved with our Alumnae Association. Many people assume that once they are done being a girl member, there is no way to stay involved in the organization unless they can be a leader, which is a big commitment, especially if one is heading to college. The Advisory Board members are working on connecting with these young alums to help them realize they have a continued support network, an opportunity for social connections or even networking for career explorations/opportunities, truly reflecting our alum motto of “Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout.”
We Are Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org to learn more.