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April 17, 2014

Local students earn Girl Scouts' highest honors

By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Two local young women have earned the highest award in Girl Scouting after spending more than 80 hours working on projects to impact their communities.

In addition, more than 44 younger girls from the area received the prestigious Silver and Bronze Awards for their excellence in the organization.

Sarah Mancuso, of Cherry Valley, and Haley Linkroum, of Deposit, were two of 31 girls in the 26-county region of the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways that received the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award. In order to earn the award, young women must complete Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador Journeys and demonstrate their leadership abilities by working on a Gold Award Take Action project, according to a media release from the organization. The goal of the project is for Girl Scouts to create “a sustainable impact” on their communities. This year, only 31 NYPENN Girl Scouts received the award, according to the release. They will be recognized at a Young Women of Distinction Luncheon in Syracuse on May 3. 

For her project, Linkroum, 19, organized a self esteem and anti-bullying workshop for students in grades 7-12 at Deposit Central School. There were four different stations, complete with different bullying scenarios that students may be faced with. She also set up a communication station where students discussed the most effective ways to “talk out” these kinds of incidents. The event was very successful, Linkroum said, and more than 30 students were involved.

“A lot of people really opened up,” Linkroum said. “They came up to me after and said the workshops helped them feel comfortable enough to talk about the topic and more aware of the issue and how to handle it. It felt really good to know that I helped someone.”

Linkroum said she wanted to do the project after seeing other people in her school be badly bullied.

“It’s painful,” Linkroum said. “I wanted to do something about it.”

Linkroum said being able to help others is her favorite part of Girl Scouts, which she has been involved in for eight years.  

Along with her golden pin, Linkroum was given letters from President Barack Obama and state Sen. Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, at an awards ceremony Sunday, congratulating her for all her hard work and service to her community.

“That was an honor,” Linkroum said.

After she graduates from high school in June, Linkroum plans to attend college, she said. An avid field hockey player in Deposit, she said she’s hoping to play the sport at a university next year and is thinking she would like to major in sports management.

Mancuso, a 2013 graduate of Cherry Valley-Springfield School, was the other area Girl Scout to earn the Gold Award. Mancuso created a music camp where she taught children about different instruments and music from around the world, said Judy Gallagher, director of Marketing and Communication for the NYPENN Girl Scouts.

Mancuso is now a freshman at the Crane School of Music at the State University College at Potsdam, where she is studying to become a music teacher.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award Girl Scouts in grades 6 through 8 can earn, according to the release. To earn the award, girls must complete a Girl Scout Cadette Journey, gain leadership experience and spend at least 50 hours working on their projects. Local Girl Scouts who earned the Silver Award are: Abigayle Davidson, Michaela Frank, Kelsey Goetz, and Rebecca Holt of Oneonta; Sheila Frank of Laurens; Shannon Brannigan of Mount Vision; Sierra Musk of Norwich; Nicole Gould, Mary Greene and Courtney Scheffler, of Arkville; and Bianca Molnar of Margaretville.

The Bronze Award is the highest award that can be earned by a Junior Girl Scout. To earn the award, girls must learn leadership and planning skills necessary to put together a positive project on which they spend at least 20 hours. Girls can work within their troops to earn this award.

Local Girl Scouts who earned the Bronze Award are: Makala Johnson, Selena Thompson, and Maya Willing of Troop 30007 from Oneonta; Shacarri Crandall and Courtney Gross of Troop 30708 from Mount Upton and Gilbertsville; Alyssa Alsheimer, Makayla Cornelius, Lindsey Davidson, Jessica Henderson, Kaitlin Law, Alysia Miller, Piper Page, and Kayleigh Wentworth of Troop 30123 from Sherbrune, Deansboro, and Hubbardsville; Janelle Dilfer, Lilie Horton, Madalynn Howe, Karley Miller, and Emilie Philippone of Troop 30358 from Oxford and Norwich; and Sabrina Blacklock, Kassandra Boss, Olivia Card, Catherine Cleveland, Adell Coe, Jillian LaHood, Chloe LaTourette, Julianna Pidgeon, Melanie Saunders, Elizabeth Serafin, Sara Van Valkenburg, and Cheyanne Ward of Troop 30728 from Oneonta and Morris.

Girls that earned the Girl Scout Silver and Bronze Awards will be recognized at a dessert reception on May 17 at the Amahami Program Center in Deposit.