Fourteen Girl Scouts from Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties and throughout the Hudson Valley get the chance to share their environmental awareness with Girl Guides in Wales and England this month. Thirteen of the 14 members of the Forever Green Task Force travel overseas this Friday as part of an International Take Action Environmental Project. This is the first Girl Scout Heart of the Hudson Forever Green Task Force.
“Our girls have selected composting and gardening as their project,” said Amanda Benton, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson program manager.
The Rockland participants on the week-long adventure are: Vivian Cheng and Christiana Pallilo of Nanuet, Victoria Tanner of Pearl River and Victoria Gnomes of Hillburn. The Westchester group members are Rachel Primavera and Kalila Shapiro of Scarsdale and Allison Herskovitz of Briarcliff Manor. Cailyn McCarthy of Brewster is also part of the group.
“They’re super excited,” said Benton. “They’ve been talking about it for the last couple of months. Our partnership was announced in September.”
In February 2012, a notification went out to older Girl Scout troops looking for ninth through 11th grade girls to form a Green Task Force. Benton explained those interested had to submit an application and an essay.
Benton said their essays had to explain, “Why they thought the environment was important and why they were passionate about it.”
Additionally, the girls were asked about their extra curricular activities, clubs, sports, etc.
“We wanted girls who were leaders, who were active in the their community,” said Benton.
Since their selection, the girls began working with younger girls and boys to demonstrate different decomposition rates and how to start a home composting kit. With older children, they helped them develop a compost area. Additionally, they partnered with an overseas group on an environmental project.
The program’s sponsor is ALCOA, which provided a grant. The girls, whose ranks are Seniors and Ambassadors, are covering some of their own costs. Benton and fellow Girl Scout manager Michelle Dimonte are chaperoning the girls on the trip, which runs from Friday, Feb. 15 to Saturday, Feb. 23.
Since they found out they were going to Wales, the Task Force has been learning about Welsh culture, food, and language.
“Most of the time that we are in Wales is going to be them working with younger girls,” explained Benton, adding they will visit a recycling facility, meet with older troops and get educational and leadership experience.
It will not be all work. The girls will attend the theater, visit a castle, hike and see a historical program about 1940’s Swansea Bay during World War II. In England, they will have the opportunity to go sightseeing and go on the London Eye Ferris Wheel and tour the BBC Studios as well as meet a local troop leader.
“They’re just really excited to meet those other girls,” said Benton.