Alison Scheiderer of Epsom inspires Girl Scouts to become their best selves
EPSOM, NH – When it comes to volunteering, some people jump in with both feet. Alison Scheiderer did just that last spring, taking on a Girl Scout troop of five girls that has grown to 15, and helping them discover all that Girl Scouts has to offer. For all she has done, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has chosen Scheiderer as its Volunteer of the Month for January.
Scheiderer, 42, of Epsom, first got involved in Girl Scouts when her first-grader joined a troop in Concord. When the leader of that troop had to move just months later, Scheiderer stepped up. That troop has been very busy with field trips and badge work.
“We met outside for every meeting until pretty recently,” she said. “We worked initially on three main Daisy Journeys and Daisy petals,” which are equivalent to badges for this youngest group of Girl Scouts in kindergarten and first grade. “I tried to make sure each Journey had at least one field trip component. And when we didn’t have a field trip, we had our meetings at a local park. We did some hiking, we went to the SPCA to see the animals. We went to Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester, which is an animal sanctuary, and that was really cool because the girls got to interact with a lot of different kinds of animals. That tour was partially led by an 11-year-old girl volunteer. That was part of the idea, to see what kids who are just a little bit older than them can be doing in the community. We went to the 911 dispatch center in the summer, and recently went to a fire station. So they’ve learned all about emergency response!”
Scheiderer plans sledding and snowshoeing this month, as well as selling Girl Scout Cookies.
“Girls started working on the My First Cookie Business badge,” she said, learning about the annual cookie sale program, and introduced parents to the concepts of teaching girls about business skills like goal setting, money management, business ethics, decision making, and people skills.
“Sheila Morris (a community liaison for the Girl Scout council) has been very helpful in terms of what initial goals to set and how much to take on as a first-time cookie sale troop,” she said. The girls are aiming at selling 125 packages each. Goals might include funding troop activities and earning prizes like T-shirts, stuffed toys, or even trips.
“She is eager to learn and good at following through,” said Morris. “She is keeping that troop organized. Sounds like they are doing some fun outdoor activities.”
Scheiderer brings her background as a Girl Scout from Brownie through Senior levels, and hopes to teach her Girl Scouts the joys of being outdoors.
“I was in a Mariner troop, a legacy troop, Troop 660 in Lawrence, Kansas,” she said, which is a specialty Girl Scout troop. “It had been going on since the ’70s and I was in it in the ’90s. It was awesome – really, really cool. We based all our meetings on Roberts Rules of Orders; very, very girl-driven. We went on canoe trips in the boundary waters in northern Minnesota and Canada.”
She said that experience was very motivating for becoming a troop leader.
“That’s my vision of what Girl Scouting is,” she said. “And I want to share that experience with my girls. I have a first-grader and a kindergartner. And I want them and their friends to be able to plan and execute a canoe trip in the wilderness someday. I plan to do the canoeing class next spring or summer, whenever it’s offered.”
Scheiderer is already a Leave No Trace Master Educator instructor and a Wilderness First Responder, and spent several years as a land conservation specialist for the Five Rivers Conservation Trust for the capital region of New Hampshire. She worked for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for nine years, is a 2006 Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and completed the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008. She has served on the Epsom School Board, as well.
Volunteering for Girl Scouts has been not just enjoyable for Scheiderer, it’s allowed her to have a special connection with her daughters and the other girls in the troop and urge them toward outdoor activities.
“I wanted my daughters to have an experience, even at this level, that could lead them in that direction,” she said. “We’re having a really good time. It is really fun to do it with my daughter, my older daughter especially, and have a reason to learn about robotics. This is stuff I want her to be engaged in and learn about. But getting a badge on her vest is quite motivating for her!”
Girl Scout of the Green and White Mountains is proud to call Alison Scheiderer its Volunteer of the Month for January, and thanks her for her service.
Both girls and adults are encouraged to join Girl Scouts. See more at www.girlscoutsgwm.org.
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.