Glenwood/Glenelg/Dayton: Troop 4503 Junior Girl Scouts help the environment while working toward Bronze Award

Members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 4503 recently did some work around the community, helping out the environment while working on their Bronze Awards. On a recent Monday afternoon, under the direction of co-leaders Kathleen Jeffery, Pam Grimes and Sandra Barton, the troop collected 23 pounds of trash and 77 pounds of recyclable materials along Triadelphia Road from Conchita Drive to Triadelphia Ridge Elementary, where the girls meet.

The fifth-grade girls who took part in this project included Maddie Waksmunski, Katie Rine, Katie Grimes, Erin Jeffery, Abby Barton, Elizabeth Stiller, Anika Markan, Ana Lesho, Taylor Currie, Ariana Angradi, Carson Dilliard, Sophia Yu and Sierra Hughes.

Troop 4503 is also learning about helping others around the world. In November, they donated five boxes of toys, hygiene items, paper, pens, gloves and other items to Operation Christmas Child. The Dayton FourSquare Church conducted this drive to help less fortunate children around the world.

Karen Mobley, founder and CEO of Neighbor Network, thanks the many people in the community who gave back and helped to make Thanksgiving a bit brighter for others this year.

Neighbor Network coordinated a Thanksgiving basket drive that provided 45 baskets to families in need. Many donors provided not only a complete Thanksgiving meal, but also extra nonperishable food for the family.

Extra recognition goes to the Howard Huskies youth hockey teams for providing 22 baskets; Folly Quarter Middle School for their donation of five baskets, along with a collection of nonperishable food, personal care and household items for each of the five families; the Glenelg High School Girls and Boys junior varsity and varsity soccer teams donated four baskets; and Clarksville Elementary School donated 12 turkeys from its Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. The turkeys in turn were donated to the recently opened Glenelg United Methodist Church Food Pantry and the St. Vincent DePaul Beans and Bread Homeless Day Shelter. In addition, another donor provided a gift certificate to Denny's Restaurant, so that a family of eight living in a motel could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in a welcoming environment.

In addition, the Home Depot on Route 40 in Ellicott City, with the help of store manager Gregory Barber, donated a new refrigerator and provided free delivery to a family in need living in Baltimore.

Of course, there were also plenty of helping hands to help with the collecting and delivery of the food baskets (and coordinating delivery of a refrigerator). Many thanks are also extended to the many high school students and parents who volunteered their time to help coordinate all this.

As Karen likes to say, "Neighbors helping neighbors is such a small act, yet has such a big impact!"

One of my favorite things during this time of year is driving around looking at the various Christmas displays that people have set up. It is a great way to spend an evening. When the kids were younger, we also enjoyed visiting holiday train gardens.

The time and patience that goes into setting these displays up amazes me. If you are looking for a fun display for the kids, you may want to check out the Lego Christmas display, located in the Taylor's Antique Mall, 8197 Main St., in Ellicott City

As a kid, I enjoyed spending hours constructing things with Lego blocks. A holiday display and Legos sounds like the perfect combination for kids. Constructed by Classic Plastic Bricks, this is believed to be Maryland's only Lego train garden, featuring an actual running Lego train set.

Constructed from a few thousand Lego bricks, it actually makes up an entire Lego Christmas landscape. The Lego display is open daily through Jan. 10.

It may seem like we are only halfway through the current school year, but for local eighth-graders, it is time to start looking ahead to high school. This week, eighth-graders received their high school catalog and began thinking about their preliminary four-year plan.

Upon return to school after winter break, students will meet with staff of their respective high school. Parents are encouraged to attend high school parent orientation: River Hill High School will hold its orientation Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. and Glenelg High School's orientation will take place Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. The orientation will take place in each school's auditorium.

If you have an eighth-grader interested in Junior ROTC, they are encouraged to set up an interview with the high school JROTC instructor and the high school administrator before Jan. 20. Army JROTC is offered at Atholton and Howard High Schools. Air Force JROTC is offered at Oakland Mills High School.

Students may request a transfer to a school offering a JROTC program. Such transfers will be granted on condition that students provide their own transportation and remain enrolled in the program at all times. Students who do not remain enrolled must return to their district high school. Students retain full athletic eligibility.

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