Allyson Hocter of Jaffrey earns Girl Scouting’s highest honor
JAFFREY, NH – Volunteering to make the world a better place has become a lifestyle for one Jaffrey teen, and she has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor, the Gold Award, for her work to put more people in touch with organizations who would love to have their help.
Allyson Hocter, 17, of Jaffrey realized there was a “huge lack of accessible information on the types of volunteer opportunities and nonprofits in my town and surrounding areas. The local organizations don't have an easy way to ask for volunteers and share the amazing work they do.”
With her project, “Creating Community Connection,” Hocter put together a database of local nonprofits and how they help or could use help from the community. Those who are interested in volunteering can now consult her database to find out how to help, such as teens who need volunteer hours for school or other organizations like Girl Scouts who want to help.
“I’ve volunteered a lot,” said Hocter. “I found a lot of really good connections through volunteering, and I found that I really enjoyed doing it. It’s one of those things I really love to do. So I wanted to relate my Gold project back to that, because it’s such a big part of my life.”
Hocter worked with the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, which now has the database for the public to access. It is available only in print at the Chamber of Commerce offices.
It basically has “every single organization in the area, what they do, what they’re looking for in volunteers or in donations, and how to contact them,” she said.
Along with this useful resource, Hocter held a volunteer fair in October, bringing together local organizations like the Red Cross, Make a Wish foundation, Reality Check, Team Jaffrey, and the Monadnock 4H Robotics team, as well as providing space for organizations who could not attend in person to make their information available, which included the Jaffrey Fire Department, Monadnock Kitty Rescue, and both Jaffrey and Rindge food pantries. She also created a Facebook page called Creating Community Connections: A Monadnock Area Volunteer Resource, which lists opportunities to volunteer, such as the upcoming Walk for Recovery on May 21.
“My Gold Award set an example for other communities and how they can spread awareness to others,” she wrote in her final report on the project. “There were organizations from all over the state who were interested in what I was doing. In addition to this, national nonprofits who came to the event were spreading my information and my message. The word was getting out to people all over and I hope other communities will follow my lead.”
Working on this project meant gaining valuable life skills that will help Hocter in the future.
“I had to do a lot of communicating with different organizations and people in the community, and through that, writing emails and phone calls and all that kind of stuff,” she said. “I gained a lot confidence, but also the ability to write a professional email, which I didn’t necessarily use as much beforehand, but I kind of had to figure out what words to use, where to write things, and how to approach things in a professional, adult manner. It gave me the experience and personal growth to be confident in myself, and to reach out to people in a way that I hadn’t done before.
The Conant High School senior and Girl Scout Ambassador has been a member of Girl Scouts since kindergarten. She earlier earned the Girl Scout Silver Award by fundraising and installing a special spinning seat at the local playground for those with sensory issues or other disabilities.
Hocter said her years with Girl Scouts meant “bouncing back and forth between troops with girls older than me and younger than me, but it was kind of cool because I got to experience different leaders and the way they ran their troops and do different things every year because I wasn’t always with the same people.”
She loved visiting the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, helping the women’s club with bingo nights, selling Girl Scout Cookies, and going to Girl Scout summer camp.
“I went to Camp Farnsworth for three or four years, and I really enjoyed that,” she said. “I met a lot of people that still talk to and engage with. I actually did one year, we went out in the middle of the woods, and camped for a night. Completely off the grid. That was really cool.”
Becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout is a lot of hard work, but Hocter said it’s worth it. She advises younger Girl Scouts to do something they can connect with and feel a passion for.
“A big thing for me is that I love volunteering so much that I can tell other people about how much I love it and make them want to do it, too,” she said.” It was a lot easier to sit down and work for hours and hours on something that I really enjoyed doing. I’m going to school for marketing, and part of my Gold Award, I got to do that stuff, too. So I got to incorporate different things that I love together to make something that I’m really proud of. I think it was a really good experience and I would totally tell any other Girl Scout to do it, go for it.
Hocter is graduating from high school with a 4.0 grade-point average in the New Hampshire Scholars program, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is going for her black belt in tae kwon do. She plans to attend Sienna College for business marketing, which she hopes to turn into a career running a nonprofit organization.
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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
Allyson Hocter has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Thirty young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2021-2022 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
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.