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November Volunteer of the Month: Chiara Yates

Volunteer Banner-Chiara Yates

Chiara Yates is leader of Girl Scout Troop 60262

AMHERST, NH – With 148 Girl Scouts in 22 troops in the Amherst area, supported by 70 adult volunteers, the Girl Scout tradition runs strong. All those volunteers are appreciated and vital to the mission of Girl Scouts. Among those volunteers is Chiara Yates, leader of Troop 60262, named the Volunteer of the Month for November by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

Yates, 48, of Amherst, brings a passion for seeing girls grow to her troop of 11 girls in grades 4-6, and does her best to give them a wide variety of experiences, including getting them outdoors.

“Chiara is a dedicated and creative leader who thinks outside the box, said Karen Werner, a volunteer support coordinator with the Girl Scout council.  “She was able to keep her troop super active during COVID. She is always on the lookout for new and challenging opportunities for her girls and is very willing to share ideas with our new leaders. This fall she is organizing a community service project and is very well organized in her approach. Her enthusiasm is contagious!”

Amanda Powell, volunteer support specialist for the Girl Scout council agrees.

“The troop is very active and involved in the community,” she said. “She also helps to volunteer with other troops that are in need of support. For example, if a leader steps down, she will assist with that troop until they are able to find a new leader! She is also passionate about inclusivity and training, and I always enjoy chatting with her.”

This Girl Scout troop coordinates the Halloween candy collection in Amherst Village.

“We collect candies to give out to families in the village so that they don’t have to take the cost of it for the whole town,” she said. “So we’re coordinating that. We have to go out three times, actually. One to give out bags, and see who wants the candies, and give out the candies.”

They also took on a quick service project to show support for the children orphaned in Ukraine by the war there, making scarves and cards.

“The scarf is just a way of showing that they’re in our thoughts.” Yates said. “It’s a small gift for kids in orphanage. And the girls all made cards with encouraging notes, like ‘You’re awesome,’ ‘You’re wonderful,’ to attach to the scarves. But it’s part of a bigger project that the Common Man and NH4Ukraine is involved with.”

The project gave the Girl Scouts an opportunity to talk about what is happening in the world and give them a chance to take action to make a difference.

Community service has also extended to the animal world, with her two sixth-graders working to earn the Bronze Award, the honest honor given to Girl Scout Juniors in grades 4 and 5. The Girl Scouts prepared information on how to care for small animal and cat dental health, for the Animal Rescue League in Bedford, and made animal blankets and toys.

Getting outdoors is also important to these Girl Scouts, who love to go camping, which they do about three times a year, including in the winter. Girl Scout Cookie sales help fund their adventures.

“Last year we sold (cookies), and we went winter camping at Camp Farnsworth, which was a little more expensive than our usual camp,” she said. “So they loved that. Half the troop wants to go to the Wolf Lodge, the water park in Fitchburg. And the other half is undecided. And some want to go horse riding. So I was going to talk to them about a goal and maybe we can organize an overnighter, because they just love doing overnighters. They love camping, or even overnighting anywhere.”

The troop often met safely outdoors during the pandemic, which Yates said they enjoyed. They had a visit from a firefighter and made scarecrows in the fall of 2020 for the town competition.

Because Yates has been involved in Girl Scouting for years, she is eager to help new leaders learn the ropes and give them ideas, like running a powder puff derby – a toy car race.

“I’ve been a cookie mom ever since my 15-year-old was in kindergarten,” she said. “So we’ve been through several troops with her. Sometimes, besides ideas with trying to do camps and things outdoors - we’re not big hikers in our troop, we just love camping - the girls love trying things out. We have a mom who’s a forager, so it’s perfect. We try all these foraging things.”

But it’s all about mentoring the girls for Yates.

“I enjoy spending time with the girls, and I enjoy watching my daughter,” she said. “Today she’s on a hike, and she told me, ‘Mom, I’m going on my own because I want to be independent!’ And I’m crushed because I’ve never been on Mount Monadnock, and that’s a good opportunity for me to climb it! But I appreciate that. And I appreciate that because I’m the troop leader, she always has me around. She can’t get rid of me! So this is her opportunity to do something on her own. I just like sharing what I know, just watching them grow up and explore. We’ve been together a few years; you can just see how they’ve evolved. You don’t have to fit into any idea or box or anything. And I think they feel free in the Girl Scout group. I enjoy watching that, that they feel free to be themselves. And there’s no judgment.”

Yates is married with three children, and when she’s not volunteering for Girl Scouts, she teaches economics and continuing education at universities in Massachusetts.

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is happy to honor Chiara Yates as its Volunteer of the Month for November. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities are available to anyone interested – just see

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Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit to learn more.