5 Steps to Earning Your Ranger Patch

National-Park-Service-Week_17_Social-Media_5-Steps_01Girl Scouts is continuing our exciting partnership with the National Park Service and the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

Through this program, girls are invited to play outdoors, learn about national parks and why they’re preserved, and develop essential leadership skills. Even better, girls have the opportunity to earn patches, complete journeys, and achieve Take Action and Gold Award projects!

So, how exactly do you earn your Ranger patch? It’s simple!

  1. Choose a National Park Service site
    Visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm. Choose a national park, a monument, or any of 417 sites protected by the National Park Service. Explore nature, learn the history and read the stories to discover why it is important to preserve your park.
  2. Imagine Yourself in a National Park
    Brainstorm activities that you might want to experience at a national park. Consider working outside with a geologist or inside identifying fossils. Maybe wildfire restoration, building a bridge, or a night sky project interests you.
  3. Contact the park and make a plan
    Call the park (the phone number is on the park’s website under Contact Us). Identify yourself as a Girl Scout. Ask if there is someone who works with the Girl Scout Ranger program or a volunteer coordinator. Express your ideas to the coordinator. Together, plan a project to help the park and fulfill your goals.
  4. Go to the park and Have Fun!
    If your park does not have a volunteer program or is too far away to visit, create a Take Action Project.
  5. Share the experience
    Share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using #FindYourPark and #NPS101 (don’t forget to tag @GirlScouts!) and invite your entire troop to do the same!

Ready to learn more about becoming a Girl Scout Ranger? Click here to read FAQs!

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Isabella Speaks Out Against Tobacco

Isabella Sapio, a Girl Scout with Pine Bush Troop 00610, recently won a $4,000 scholarship from Shop Rite and Dove as a “Dove Right On Girl”, for outstanding community service.

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Isabella started doing community service at a young age. “I can remember placing cans in food baskets at the holidays and thinking it was fun.” Now, Isabella is actively involved in her community – helping out at the library sorting books, running food drives, and acting as an altar server at her church as well as singing in the church choir. However, the service project of which she is most proud is her Silver Award project: Teens Against Tobacco Use.

“I was working in a group and we spent weeks picking a topic. We finally realized we all loved our town park, but people smoke there. We thought, well maybe we can change something about that. We looked into changing laws, and found that we could designate certain areas as smoke free,” explains Isabella when asked about how the project came to be.

“I’m using my voice now to speak for those little ones that feel the same way I do. I have lobbied to NYS Government Officials in Albany for tobacco control and increase funding for those that want to quit smoking. As a result of working with POW’R Against Tobacco and contributing 75+ hours to this project, the first law of 2015 was created in my hometown that banned smoking within 50 feet of any recreational area such as playgrounds, ball fields, pavilions, and town owned structures and could be subjected to fines.”

sapio 1The scholarship celebrates teenage girls for giving back to their communities and encourages them to continue to work towards their dreams and be all that they can be! Isabella was honored alongside 3 other recipients, one from each New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware at a Ceremony this Spring. Each recipient got to give a speech about why they like volunteer service. “They presented us with a large check; I felt like I was on Ellen.”

When asked what she gained from her community service Isabella replied:

“I get to know that I was able to make someone’s life better. One person makes a difference … I wasn’t sitting at home. I was out making the world a better place. And that’s rewarding. The feeling you get is amazing.”

Her advice to others who want to make a difference? “Anything you do makes a difference, big or small. Little things are just as great. Donating 2-3 cans of food is a start. And ‘starts’ are great. Everything counts. Everything.”

Want to see more of the awesome things Girl Scouts are doing? Check them out!

Smashing Goals on the Way to Bronze

Emily Duro and Taylor Mcleod, Junior Juliettes, teamed up to earn their Bronze Award.

To do so, they set up a collection of new books at their school, Sheafe Road Elementary in Wappingers Falls, NY, to donate to the pediatrics department at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepise, NY.

Their goal was 50 books… but, they collected 404!! The director and nurses in the department were so happy with the generous gift.

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We talked to them about their project and their success:

Why did you choose this project?
We wanted to do something with kids and find a way to help them

What made your project so successful?
We worked really hard. We made posters for our school, went to classrooms to tell the other students, and made regular announcements over the loudspeaker.

What was your favorite part of the project?
Crushing our goal of 50 books and collecting 404 books!

What did you learn from earning your Bronze Award?
If you stick with something, you can go beyond your goals.

We congratulate them on super awesome Bronze Award project!

Interested in learning more about Girl Scouting’s highest awards? Check out our website for guidelines, paperwork, and ideas. All three awards give Girl Scouts the chance to do big things while working on an issue they care about.

Ultimate Summer Bucket List

It’s finally here—weeks upon weeks of gorgeous weather, lazier mornings, maybe a part-time job, pool parties, and ideally, buckets of free time. Summer is a magical time of year, and it would be an absolute waste to just sleep through it, so we’ve put together the ultimate summer bucket list that will make these warm weather months even more memorable (and give every girl something incredible to tell her friends about when she goes back to class in the fall).

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All of these summer ideas work for both independent older girls, who can take on most challenges on their own—and for younger girls who can try their hand at these activities with the help of a parent or other caring adult.

Ready for your best summer yet? Let’s go!

Create Something Beautiful
Take your Instagram to the next level with some artsy shots, create a cool collage from your favorite magazines, or even try your hand at painting. The way you see the world is unique and cool, so share that vision with the world!

img_0726.jpgSleep Under the Stars
No campground or plans to go camping on the horizon? Set up a tent in your own back yard. No back yard? Cut out paper stars and hang them from your living room ceiling with string and tape, then invite your crew over for an indoors campout. And don’t forget the S’Mores—they’re delish whether they’re made over a roaring campfire or in the microwave!

Do Something Scary
Test your skills on a ropes course, audition for a play, or try learning a cool skateboarding trick. There’s no need to be perfect—or even good—at whatever it is, the point is to just put yourself out there, try something new, and walk away with a cool story to tell your friends.

Daydream Under a Tree
Sure, the A/C inside feels good, but so does a nice summer breeze under the shade of a big tree. Take your headphones off, put your phone away, and let the birds serenade you as you dream up even more fun plans for you and your crew.

Make a New Friend
Chances are, you already know almost everyone in your neighborhood, so introduce yourself to a girl from a different community—maybe a girl at camp, at the pool in the next town over, or even get to know a friend’s cousin when she visits from out of town. New perspectives and ideas will make your summer a lot more interesting.

Book Service ProjectGet Lost in a Book
You always hear that the book is better than the movie, and nine times out of ten that’s true—but when school’s in and there’s so much assigned reading, it’s hard to find time to read anything else! Not sure where to start? Head to your local library. The staff there know all the latest and coolest in young adult titles as well as children’s books. Tell them what kinds of things you typically like, and they’ll deliver some solid suggestions.

Take a Hike
Whether you’ve got a rustic trail nearby or are in the middle of the concrete jungle, lace up your sneakers and check out all the snap-worthy sights. Bonus points? Pack a lunch and find a bench or shady park to have a mini-picnic.

Make a Family Tree
All families look different, and half the fun of creating a family tree is discovering what shape yours will take! Start with you and your siblings if you have any, then branch out to your parents or caregivers and their brothers and sisters, then to their parents and caregivers, and on and on as far as you can go. Dive deep and add some personal details to your tree, like photos, fun facts, and favorite memories. You’ll get to spend some prime quality time with the people you love the most, and might uncover a surprising or funny story or two along the way.

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Be a Hero
Standing up for something you believe in doesn’t just help change the world, it feels really awesome, too. Learn more about organizations that support the causes you believe in, then volunteer, join a rally, or call your local government and speak up for the issues that matter to you. This is your world, and you can change it.

 

Send an Old-School Letter
Get yourself some cute stationary (or make your own) and write a letter to one of your besties or a relative you don’t get to see too often—then think of how psyched they’ll be to find your note in among the junk mail.

Master One “Magic” Trick
This one might seem silly, but trust us on this one—knowing how to pull off one good trick will add a bit of fun to parties and other random hangouts for the rest of your life! Go online and research one simple card trick or other fun illusion. Practice it over and over until you can do it seamlessly, then test it out on family and friends. Presto! You’re ready for the spotlight.

finalGet Cooking
Learn how to make one delicious meal—something that you love and that will totally impress your family and friends. Ask a relative to teach you their favorite recipe, hunt through cool cookbooks at the library, or just do a quick online search for simple and yummy ideas. Throw a bright table cloth on a picnic table at the park and dig in. Top Chef’s got nothing on you.

Put Together a Cool Vision Board
Grab a bunch of old magazines and cut out words and pictures that represent the types of things you want to do or have in your life in the future. Include anything that inspires you—whether it’s fireworks in the night sky, cool pictures of hiking trails you’d love to explore, an adorable kitty, or portraits of athletes you look up to—then use tape, rubber cement, or a glue stick to attach them in any order you like on a poster board or piece of construction paper. Hang it in your room to motivate you and remind you of all the fun your future holds.

underwaterMake a Splash
Head to the beach, the lake, or the local pool to show off your backstroke, or even just dash out to the front yard or the driveway for an impromptu water balloon fight. On a hot day, there’s not much that feels better or that’s more fun.

Explore the Farmer’s Market
Check out your local farmer’s market with a friend and pick out a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before. Don’t like it? There’s no need to have it again. Love it? As foodies would say, you’ve just widened your palate. Basically, the world is delicious. Get out there and take a bite!

Earn Some Cash
Although some of the best things in life are, in fact, free—other good things (like, say, ice cream and trips to the movies) cost money. Get down to business and make some cash of your own with a simple lemonade stand or bake sale, through babysitting or dog walking, by mowing lawns, or even teaching an elderly neighbor how to use her new tablet. You’re a natural entrepreneur!

Learn a Language
Set aside a couple hours each week and learn the basics of another language—either the one spoken in the part of the world you’d like to visit most, or one that you’re simply interested in, like American Sign Language. Check out free apps, online videos, and your local library for books and other resources. You’ll impress friends when you show off your new skills and will be able to communicate with so many more interesting and cool people throughout your life.

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Give Back
If you think volunteering is boring, you’re doing it wrong. To give back (and have an amazing time, too) think about the things you like doing most. Chances are, those skills and activities could be turned into a cool community service project. Love singing or acting? Put on a show at the senior center or to raise money for your favorite cause. Obsessed with cute cat videos online? Sign up to help at the local animal shelter. Coding’s your thing? Help a younger girl (or, heck, even one of your parents!) learn how to set up her own website. Basically, you’ve got skills for days and the world needs them now.

Check Out Some Live Music
You don’t have to have tickets to that sold-out stadium show to hear some awesome music this summer. Chances are, your town or one nearby will feature live bands during community barbeques, fireworks, and other local events. So head out, discover some cool new music, and maybe even get inspired to start your own band while you’re at it.

Keep a Journal
You’ll want to remember all the epic fun you’ll have this summer for the rest of your life— so jot down your memories, funniest moments, inside jokes, random thoughts, and most exciting adventures in a journal each night before you go to bed. If you’re on social, you might post some of this there, too, but there’s something really special about a journal that’s just for you that you can keep and cherish forever. Not so into handwriting things? Make a video or audio journal instead, or think about creating a visual scrapbook and fill it with ticket stubs and other mini-souvenirs of your summer.

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Gardening with Girl Scouts

The weather is getting nicer and many people are heading outside after a very long (and cold!) winter. Gardening can be a great way to get girls outside and learn about plants, how to care for living things and where their food comes from. There are many ways to engage girls and work towards Girl Scout badges and Journey awards through gardening.Middletown GS planting trees

Ideas to use with girls:

  • Visit a garden and pick homegrown fruits, vegetables and other foods. Then take what you gathered and create a tasty recipe to try. Homemade salsa, pizza, salad and vegetable soup are great choices!
  • Plant a garden at your home, meeting place, school, local park or any other place in your community (be sure to ask permission first). Ask the girls what kinds of seeds they would like to plant, how big the garden should be and who will take care of it. Talk to the girls about what plants need in order to grow healthy and strong.
  • Visit a local farm. Talk to the farmers to find out what it’s like to be in that line of gardeningwork and how they impact their community. Ask if the girls are able to help plant or harvest their crop.
  • Invite a florist to come to a meeting and teach the girls about different flowers. Then spend some time creating “seed bombs” to give to people in your community.
  • Learn about the financial aspect of growing your own food. What is the cost of planting, harvesting and eating your own food versus the cost of getting it from the store where preservatives, packaging and store costs are included? This is an especially enlightening activity for older girls!

There are a lot of ways that gardening activities can be linked to Girl Scout badges and the It’s Your Planet-Love It! Journey.

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Get Outdoors This Father’s Day

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Hey dads! It’s your day, and we want you to go out and celebrate BIG with the ones you love.

Why? Because dads are so cool, and such a special part of a girl’s life. As a father, spending quality time with your daughter is the best gift you can ever give her all year long, and the best gift you can receive in return.

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When a girl hangs out with dad, her world opens up. There’s laughter and learning and growth. There’s adventure and there’s FUN, and always a ton of love. And another great thing: you’re learning and growing just as much as she is!

This Father’s Day, we encourage you to take a different approach to celebrating, and get outside with your daughter. Nature is a great backdrop for some grade-A quality time free of distractions like phones, tablets, and TV—so leave all the plugs behind and head out into that life-giving sun with your favorite Girl Scout alongside.

Here are three creative ways to celebrate and strengthen your father-daughter bond this Father’s Day and all summer long: 

Board Game Picnic Party

That’s right—a board game picnic party! Because who doesn’t love board games, snacks, and a nice shady tree to sit beneath? Let’s do it. Pack up some goodies—think sandwiches, fruit, and trail mix—grab three or four of your favorite board games and a blanket, and head outside with your daughter. You can set up in the backyard, or at a local park. (If you’re close enough to walk or bike there, even better!) Play, laugh, and just enjoy each other’s company in the warm summer breeze. It’ll be so much fun! Just make sure to put on some sunscreen and drink plenty of water. You might end your special day with a walk around the park (or your backyard) while talking and making sweet memories together.
Field Day for Two

Remember how much you loved field day as a kiddo? Games, a little healthy competition, lots of laugh, and tons of exercise—you can’t go wrong here! And the best part? It all feels like nothing more than good ol’ FUN.

ColandreaSo pull on your thinkin’ cap and plan a field day for two, for you and your daughter—she’s sure to love it! She’ll have fun, she’ll learn more about you and about herself, and she’ll have a great story to tell her friends!

Want to make it extra special? Create T-shirts and hats for the two of you to wear as you play, and bring mom along to keep score. (Maybe the winner gets a cool prize.) You can compete with each other or be on the same team. (Yes, even if it’s just the two of you!)  Whatever you decide, focus on the fun, stay hydrated, and make sure you pack snacks for in between games.

Nature Photo Tour

Kids these days absolutely love to take and share photos. This Father’s Day, grab a couple of smartphones or cameras and head outside with your daughter. Find a great walking or hiking trail to explore and take a bunch of awesome pictures along the way, including selfies, which she’ll love snapping in the great outdoors with her favorite guy!

Maybe there’s a stunning view you want to share with her. Maybe it’s time to pack the car and road-trip it somewhere! Whether you choose to stay close to home or venture farther out, we’re sure there’s a great slice of nature you can find to share. Then when you get back home, you can make a cool slideshow or collage of everything you saw, and show the whole family. AWESOME.

For more on the importance of getting outdoors and sharing special moments with your daughter, check out a video featuring girls and dads talking about what they love most about spending time together.

We hope you’re able to get outside today and have a beyond-words-wonderful time together. Happy Father’s Day!

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Pelham Girl Scout Advocates for Local Police with her Gold Award Project

kim with police officers“In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation making May 15th “Peace Officer’s Memorial Day” and the week following ‘Police Week’,” explains Kimberly Rosell as she sits down to chat about her Gold Award project. “I chose my Gold Award project to honor our local Police Departments.”

Kimberly, who is a member of troop 1662 has been a Girl Scout her entire life, and is now working towards earning Girl Scouts highest award – the Gold Award. Her project aims to increase awareness of and appreciation for local police officers, to raise money in order to purchase needed equipment such as LPR’s (Licence Plate Readers), and to create a reflective documentary on police officers and their jobs.

During Police week, she shared her mission with local Pelham Girl Scouts, Pelham Boy Scouts, and Pelham students as she led them in creating over 150 “Thank You” cards for both the Village of Pelham and Pelham Manor Police Departments. She’s quick to include them in her success, “A huge thank you to all of them and their leaders who participated and took the time to create heartfelt cards. As I read through the cards, I was moved by the sincerity and the sentiments written by the younger troops.”

Kimberly chose this project after being inspired by her older sister’s Gold Award project. “She had worked with fire department to raise funds to purchase needed equipment”, she remembers, “I wanted to help the police department and show our appreciation for them.”

Her next step? Writing, filming, and sharing a documentary about police offers to encourage appreciation and increase empathy towards those in the position. “I want this documentary to influence people in positive ways”, she says, “We should always be grateful for our local police.”

From Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson to all our officers for keeping us safe – We are grateful for everything you do.

2017 Honorees: Women of Achievement

Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson congratulates the 2017 Tribute Honorees, and celebrates the potential of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader).

Each of this years honoree is ambitious, creative, visionary, responsible, and courageous. They are pioneers, advocates, experimenters, leaders, and life-long learners.

Andrea Nilon credits Girl Scouts with instilling in her a love of volunteerism and providing the pathway to her career in public service. Not long after moving here from New Jersey in the early 70s, she found herself alone with few resources and a three year old daughter. She knew only a few people, but one of these needed a leader for her niece. This same friend knew of a job opening, which happened to be with the town and, as they say, the rest is history.

Her daughter Linda fortunately was able to accompany her mother to work. To this day they are often seen together coordinating on community projects and events. Each claims to be an inspiration to each other every day.

Andrea’s extensive resume includes many leadership roles in both her profession and community. She cites Charlotte Huxel, first Bobbie Lahey recipient, with introducing her to the YWCA, and has been on that Board on and off for over two decades. She also is on Boards for the Orange County Citizens Foundation, Friends of Hill Hold & Brick House, and is past president for Cornell Cooperative Extension and past chair for the Orange County Parks Board.

Andrea holds a BA from Montclair University and an MPA from Marist. She has served as president for county, state, regional and national professional organizations, advocated for professional and community organizations in Albany and Washington, DC, and was honored in 2008 with a Fellowship in the Institute of Assessing Officers, the first woman to achieve that distinction.

Although Andrea’s passion is public service, she takes great pride in her immediate and extended family. In addition to Linda, she has a son, Joseph, step-daughters Lara and Dallas and step-son Jesse. Andrea and her partner of 25 years – Rick Hubner – live in Pine Bush, and also share six grandchildren and six step-grandchildren.

 

Elizabeth Klosky: Growing up in her supportive hometown of Cornwall-on-Hudson surrounded by the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley, Elizabeth was homeschooled until entering Cornwall Central High School and has been a Girl Scout since she was 5.

She is often found outdoors: observing nature, working with her bees and chickens or playing with her dog, helping with the maple syrup operation or constructing outbuildings for her family’s microfarm, Storm King Farm, or singing and making art.

Through Girl Scouts, she developed her passions for leadership training, volunteering, environmental conservation, and sustainable agriculture, while leading activities like NY is a Great Place to Bee – her wide-reaching Gold Award project focused on preserving pollinators.

Entering Cornell University in the fall to study biological engineering, Elizabeth plans to become an agricultural engineer to address worldwide food production issues by designing new processes and devices to make farming more sustainable, healthful, and efficient.

 

Orange County Women of Achievement

On May 10th, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudon and the YWCA Orange County hosted the 25th Annual Tribute to Women of Achievement. The event honored 6 outstanding women – all from different fields, and all making a huge impact in their communities.

Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson is committed to providing every girl with role models they can look up. We hope that in hearing the stories of these inspiring women that they may find the confidence they need to succeed.  We are thankful for women like Master Sergeant Messenger who is committed to getting the job done while leading with empathy, and pioneers like Darcie Miller who’s willing to step up and tackle challenges.

MSG MaryKay Messenger is a Newburgh, New York native and well-know soloist throughout the Hudson Valley region performing Classical, Broadway, Jazz and Popular music.  She is the premier vocalist for the United States Military Academy Band, West Point, NY and first sang with them in 1980, at the age of 12, singing for the season finale 1812 concert.

MaryKay joined the Army in 1996. MaryKay is often highlighted in Army football halftime shows, and performs for many official functions at West Point and in New York City for distinguished guests, politicians and international dignitaries. She was promoted to Master Sergeant in 2010.

She has sung at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Yankee Stadium. She has traveled the world, from all over Europe to China, where she became the first American military vocalist to perform with the People’s Liberation Army. She sang “God Bless America” at the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and at the World Series.  Other notable performances include World Championship Boxing, the Bruce Springsteen “Stand Up for Heroes” concert, and numerous performances at games for New York teams including the Mets, Giants, Knicks, and Yankees.

She received her degree in Business Management from Mount Saint Mary College and studied voice with Walter Blazer from Manhattan School of Music.  MSG Messenger
resides in Milton, NY with her husband David and daughters Emma and Grace.

 

Darcie Miller, is the Commissioner at the Orange County Dept. of Social Services and the Orange County Dept. of Mental Health, a position she’s held since 2016. Prior she serves as the Commissioner for the Dept. of Mental Health for 3 years, Deputy Commissioner for 7 years, and has been part of the county’s mental health team for more than a decade.

As Commissioner, Ms. Miller oversees Orange County’s planning, development, and coordination of services of a wide range of social welfare programs under the divisions of Human Services, Economic Independence, mental health, developmental disabilities, and chemical dependency.

Never one to shy away from a challenge or an opportunity, Commissioner Miller has had administrative responsibility for leading the development and assisting in facilitating a Sex Offender Community Management Task Force, Orange County Middletown Court Connection Project, serving as the Principal Investigator for the Children’s Mental Health Initiative System of Care, Mental Health Juvenile Justice Projects, and participating in bringing evidence based initiatives to Orange County. She serves on many local and statewide committees.

Commissioner Miller received her Masters in Social Work and her Bachelors of Science degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to coming to Orange County in 2001, she served as a staff social worker and rape crisis coordinator in Niagara County, NY. In addition to holding down a very demanding position as Commissioner, Darcie and her husband James Ferraro are parents to his son, Matthew, and their daughter, Angelina, and son, Anthony.

 

Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Partners with YWCA to Honor Orange County Women

On May 10th, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudon and the YWCA Orange County hosted the 25th Annual Tribute to Women of Achievement. The event honored 6 outstanding women – all from different fields, and all making a huge impact in their communities.

“From the wide use of the Internet to the impact of social media, there have been many changes in the past 25 years, but the focus of the Orange County Tribute to Women of  Achievement remains the same— celebrating the amazing women of Orange County and enabling these two agencies to continue to fulfill their respective and interconnected
missions,” says Patrica Page, Acting CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson.

Today, we are excited to introduce 2 of this year’s Honorees:

Kanisha E. Henderson recognized as “Ayo NiSh!” or “DJ Ms. Perfect Touch” is a multi talented rising Performing Artist. Nish is known as a Songwriter, DJ, Educator, and
Social Entrepreneur.  With her positive infectious personality, the originality of her stage presence can be felt by all age groups and diverse cultural backgrounds while expressing her unique art.

Hailing from Newburgh, NY, a city struggling with youth and gun violence, Nish is committed to social transformation through the arts, working in partnership with the Department of Education to put programs into action. Nish has recently begun working with NYC cultural institutions, the Queens Museum and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. As a traveling performing artist, she has worked alongside of many highly favored entertainers throughout the United States and abroad.

“Being different means staying true to yourself. Imagine if we all did that?”, she asks.

Nish’s campaign, #iMaDTOD, incorporates her beliefs on self-love and empowerment. This campaign will follow her debut single, “D.T.O.D. (Different Type of Different”, from her Overdue Ep.

Combining her campaign efforts, while spreading the knowledge of “P.O.W. – Power of Words”, Nish is preparing for her multi-city high school tour to encourage this message.

“Understand that that the power of your words can give strength to your character.
Live to speak life.”- Nish

Heather Howley started Independent Helicopters at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York, in 2008 at the age of 25. She offers flight instruction, aerial photography, power line and pipe line patrols, tours and scenic flights.

With well over 5000 hours of flight time, Heather is a Certified Instrument Flight Instructor (CFII) and Airline Transport Pilot flying both helicopters and airplanes. She opened her second flight school at Saratoga County Airport in the summer of 2013; and currently operates 6 helicopters and 1 flight simulator.

Heather discovered her love of flying while traveling across Europe in small planes.  After returning to America and realizing she desperately wanted to learn to fly, she sold everything she owned and moved to San Diego where she worked two jobs while earning her private and commercial ratings, then moved to Colorado where she earned her instrument, flight instructor and instrument flight instructor ratings.

Heather is a Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business graduate, 40 under 40 Albany Business Review recipient for 2014 and received the 2013 Orange County Rising Star among other accolades.

“What girls need is role models to show them all that piloting has to offer. I had a 5-year-old girl come in with her bomber jacket and hat all ready to go because her grandpa was a pilot. Most girls have no idea it’s an option.” – Heather