Girl Scouts of Troop 1861 earn Silver Award [Elkridge]

What better way to capture the spirit of the holiday season than with a story of giving, caring and sharing! Congratulations to the young ladies of Troop 1861 for earning their Silver Award, the highest honor for Cadette Girl Scouts.

Following two years of dedication and attention to detail, Girl Scouts Lindsey Brown, Haley Kappey, Cara Lamberty, Harper Lurie, Emily Magoon, Cassie Myers and Sarah Sweet (all students at Howard High School) recently received their prestigious Silver Award in a ceremony at Camp Ilchester, Ellicott City.

Under the leadership of troop leaders Lori Magoon and Michelle Lurie, the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Charities of Baltimore was the focus project to earn the silver. For those who may not know, the RMH provides a loving "home-away-from-home" environment, offering families all the comforts of home to be near a seriously ill or injured child(ren) during extensive medical treatment.

Troop 1861 collected wish list items for the Ronald McDonald initiative and hosted a Science Night at the House for guests. Eight shopping carts full of snacks and cleaning supplies were collected from patrons of the Giant Food Store in Elkridge, as well as over $130 in cash donations.

The troop also donated 26 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies through their Gift of Caring participation, and collected 11 pounds of aluminum pop-tops, which were then "cashed in" at Maryland Recycle of Elkridge, and forwarded the cash to the Ronald McDonald House.

These young ladies are not only focused on good works, they are crafty, too, creating fleece tie blankets and donating them to the children in residence at the RMH. According to these young ladies, the highlight of the project was "Science Night" for the house residents. Each Scout led an experiment, many of which showed off cool magic tricks, but also explained the scientific basis behind each presentation. This project is also sustainable — a key component of the Silver Award Project — because each troop member decorated a box which contains the materials and directions for performing each individual experiment so guests of the RMH can enjoy them for years to come.

According to troop leader, Lori Magoon, "This was truly a great journey for everyone — the troop as a whole and individually, and for Michelle and I as their leaders — and provided an opportunity for these children, who are suffering through serious medical conditions with long roads of hope and healing ahead of them, to laugh and learn, share camaraderie and, hopefully, put their pain and worries aside, at least for a period of time."

Sounds like everyone is a winner here. Good job, ladies!

Here's a Good Samaritan story that I'd like to share. In the icy snow and slush of this first weekend of December, my son's truck slid off the road and was stuck in a neighbor's yard. After hauling cinder block up the street, spreading cat litter under the tires, and getting sprayed with plenty of mud and slush, we were still unsuccessful in our attempt to get him out. Plenty of folks rode by.

However, one kind stranger came up the road, stopped and backed up to us offering to lend a hand. After taking the time and trouble to rearrange the contents of his vehicle, he produced a tow rope, helped get it secured to a safe pull point, and pulled the truck back onto the road, which by then had been heavily salted and was fairly navigatable. As for our hero, all I know is his name is Chris, and he was returning from a bike ride (with bike on top of his Jeep and dressed in riding gear) and he obviously has a child (since a car seat was one of the things he moved to access the tow rope).

My son and I are tremendously grateful for his willingness to stop and lend a hand to a perfect stranger in adverse weather conditions. So, Chris, if you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Wishing each and everyone of you, your families and friends, and all the good neighbors and friends in Elkridge and Hanover, a wonderful, happy holiday season, with health, peace and joy for 2014!

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