Laura Elliott finds community connections in Girl Scouting
MILFORD, NH – For Laura Elliott, being in Girl Scouts is all about the connections and bonds girls and volunteers form as they participate together. Because she has kept those bonds strong through the pandemic, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has named Elliott the May Volunteer of the Month.
Elliott, 44, of Milford, leads a troop of Girl Scout Ambassadors based in Amherst who will be high school seniors next fall. Her daughter has been in the troop since first grade and Elliott assisted the other troop leaders before becoming a leader when the girls were in seventh grade. When they were in eighth grade, the troop became considerably larger due to another troop disbanding and joining them.
“I met Laura when my daughter joined an Amherst Girl Scout group in third grade,” said Julie Hinse, her co-leader. “There were two wonderful leaders at that time. In sixth grade those leaders needed to move on from Girls Scouts, so Laura and I took over the troop. The troop is a small close-knit group of wonderful girls. Laura is extremely dedicated to them and that has only grown over the years. She runs the parent communications with expertise and timeliness. During our meetings she is kind and supportive of all the girls, always encouraging them to do their best. COVID has prevented us from partaking in events this year - other than troop meetings and a booth sale - but she always gives her all.”
Elliott mentors her girls along with working full time, helping them earn their Girl Scout Silver Award, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and more. With the COVID-19 pandemic, she made sure the girls could meet through Zoom as well as outdoors.
“Even though it was freezing, we’d meet at my co-leader’s house outside,” she said, “but they appreciated that. They could see each other. One time one brought her cross-country ski rollerskis. They talked about how they were feeling and what they were dealing with.”
Prior to the pandemic, Elliott and her Girl Scouts enjoyed a trip into Portsmouth, staying at Girl Scout Camp Seawood, where they made their own meals, visited Odiorne Point, and went to a farmers market. They worked on a Journey, which is a more involved version of a badge.
“We did the Journey, and they were so connected!” said Elliott. “They still talk about it!”
Earning Girl Scouting’s highest awards got the girls involved in making their community a better place. For their Silver Award, they worked to improve a clearing at the Peabody Mill Environmental Center in Amherst, installing a bench and a picture post so that changes in the land could be captured over time. In the process, she said, the girls learned how to write up and present a proposal to the Amherst Conservation Commission. They are currently working to gather items to help the Nashua Children’s Home.
She gives co-leader Hinse credit for keeping things together, being good at having ideas to get the girls involved and active, while she is better at the organizational side. “I don’t think either one of us could do it on our own!” she said.
But there’s plenty of help for Elliott in the Amherst Girl Scout community, and she encourages others to join in and become part of something bigger, and see how the Girl Scout experience helps girls develop courage, confidence, and character.
“You can see the kids over the years and how it changes them,” she said.” It helps them to be a better person over time. You see the lasting impact of it.”
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is grateful for all Laura Elliott has given to Girl Scouts over the years, and is proud to call her Volunteer of the Month.
To find out more about joining Girl Scouts as a girl or adult, see www.girlscoutsgwm.org.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.