Groton on the Inside: All for the community, Girl Scouts earn their awards


Whenever I hear someone mention an Eagle Scout, I know right away that they are speaking about the highest award earned by a Boy Scout. Until last week, I was not familiar with the award levels that Girl Scouts are able to achieve, but after spending some time with Groton Girl Scouts, Chloe Conger and Sarah Dean, I was both educated and impressed!

Conger and Dean are both ninth graders and have been Girl Scouts since first grade and Kindergarten, respectively. When asked what they enjoy most about being a Girl Scout, Dean was quick to say how much she enjoyed the Girl Scout cookie sales when she was younger, but now prefers the community service projects she can participate in, such as the annual Groton Community Night, helping with the spaghetti dinner at the Senior Center, Christmas caroling at the Center and at the library, and helping with the garden on Main Street, just to name a few.
Conger echoed Dean’s sentiment regarding the cookies as a young scout and then moved into enjoying earning badges and all the work that entails. Both girls recently earned their Silver Awards, each for very different projects, and Groton is a better place in both instances.

As Girl Scout Juniors (fourth and fifth grade), Conger and Dean had completed all their “Journeys,” which then allowed them to earn their first major level award – the Bronze, which had to be a team effort that would benefit the community, with each girl contributing 20 work hours. They did this together by collecting toys, food, and monetary donations for the Cortland SPCA, as well as making dog toys themselves.

The Silver Award is earned as a Cadette (sixth through eighth grade), must also benefit the community, is done by an individual or small group, and requires 50 work hours.

Conger earned her Silver Award for raising hunger awareness in Groton. She conducted extensive research on the topic and was astounded at the statistics she uncovered on the effects of hunger in school children. She became passionate about her feeling that hunger was not recognized in our community as much as it should be.

Many of Conger’s required hours were spent this past summer in the school cafeteria, as she worked with food service director, Kelly Neville, prepping and freezing fresh produce to be used for school meals this fall; culminating in the publication of Conger’s “Healthy Recipes” book, which she makes available to anyone who would like one.

Dean’s Silver Award project may be found at Groton Memorial Park – the Gaga Ball Pit she planned and built; born out of her awareness that the park wasn’t really meeting the entertainment needs for all ages. Dean said, “I wanted to provide something inclusive for everyone to enjoy, including adults.”

There were a few proverbial hoops Dean needed to jump through to get her project off the ground, including approvals from the Village Board and the Girl Scout NYPENN Pathways Council. Once those came through, with the help of her father and fellow scout, Dianna Niño, Dean realized her vision of a Gaga Ball Pit in the park.

What’s next for Conger and Dean? They both have hope to go on to earn the Gold Award, which is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can reach. Only 5.4 percent of eligible girls successfully earn it – but I have a hunch these girls will!


Verne Morton: the man and the contest

One of the highlights of Groton Olde Home Days for the past 10 years has been the Verne Morton Memorial Photography Show & Contest, but have you ever wondered who Morton really was or why we have a contest in his memory?

Born in Groton in 1868, Morton dedicated 50 years of his life to photographing rural life in Tompkins County, particularly Groton, but in very specific and simplistic ways. Ultimately, he had two books of his photographs published, “Images of Rural Life” and “Great Possibilities.” His work is unique and truly depicts what life in and around Groton was like “back in the day.”
Morton’s legacy lives on today, giving local photographers of any age or skill level the opportunity to showcase their own renditions of rural and village life in Groton through this annual show and contest in his memory.

There are very specific categories to keep in mind to stay true to Morton’s work, and the challenge is to try to replicate his style through one’s own lens – pun intended!
The winners of the 10th annual Verne Morton Memorial Photography Show & Contest, in the following categories, were: Animals; first place, Liana Klumpp, second place, Eric Carey, and third place, Toriana Toro.

Botanicals; Krista Sessions took first place, and Lyn Swearingen went home with both second and third place awards. In the category of People; first place, Kaitlyn McWilliams, second place, Kristin Prugh, and third place, Lisa Maloney Hahn.

For Places; first place, Kathy Olmstead, second place, John MacLean, and third place, Charlotte Huether. In Weather; first place, Lacey Griep, second place, Samantha Cargian, and third place, Eric Carey.

The Morton Legacy Award went to Liana Klumpp. Best of Show was awarded to Kaitlyn McWilliams. Eric Carey was the winner of the People’s Choice award, Michael Cummings took home the Producer’s Choice, and Kathy Olmstead was awarded the Rural Heritage award.

Congratulations to each of these talented folks!

Dogs + rabies prevention = free clinic

New York State law requires that all dogs over the age of four months are to be licensed and requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies. Proof of rabies vaccination is required for you to license your dog.

There will be a free rabies clinic from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Groton Fire Station for dogs, cats, and ferrets; sponsored by the Tompkins County Health Dept. Proof of prior vaccination is required to receive a three-year certificate. Ferrets must be vaccinated annually.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit items to Linda Competillo, or (607) 227-4922.


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