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!


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



Sharing a Love of Reading with the Bronze Award

Troop 1510 consists of nine 5th grade girls who live and/or go to school in Bronxville.  Many of these girls have been together since kindergarten as Daisy Girl Scouts. And they are committed to stepping up and making a difference.

Girl Scouts are known for taking the lead without waiting to be called on to be a leader. And these empowered young ladies did just that. About a year ago, the girls sat down with the goal of earning their Bronze Award – the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. They wanted to improve their community while finding their best selves.

Not sure how they could best make an impact, they interviewed others in the community for ideas before deciding to put together a reading program with the Andrus Day Care Center in Tuckahoe. “The girls concluded that sharing their love of reading through teaching was a very important community service they could give to young children” explains Shannon their troop leader.

The 5th graders went to the Andrus Center in groups of 3 to read books to the children and then complete an activity related to the book – a skit, a craft, etc.

Completing the Bronze Award was a huge learning experience for the Girl Scouts. “They had to plan their own lessons, budget the costs of material, confirm with the day care director the dates, and follow up with each other what worked and what did not work in their lessons,” says Shannon reflecting on the experience.


Congrats to Madeline, Julia, Katire, Frannie, Malia, Julia, Simone, Melissa, and Hadley!

To learn more about the Bronze Award, and other high level awards for Girl Scouts, visit our website. 

Ambitious Girl Scout combines love of softball with love of Girl Scouting

kate9Katie O’Connor started her Girl Scout experience in 1st grade at the age of 5. That was 9 years ago, and she’s loved every moment. She cites some of her favorite moments as going to the Maritime Aquarium for an overnight, and any time her troop partnered with younger Girl Scout troops for projects and activities – a skillset we’re sure Katie has strengthened in helping out younger sister and Brownie Girl Scout Liv.

Her troop is also active in service – they provide tours for Girl Scouts entering Middle School so they feel comfortable in their new surroundings. A few years ago, Katie also earned her Bronze Award along with the rest of her troop by raising money and donating pet supplies to the ASPCA in their project titled “ASPCA Donations Project.”

“I love Girl Scouts because it’s fun, you make friends through it and help the people around you at the same time,” she shares reflecting on her time in the organization.

But we all know Girl Scouts are well-rounded, ambitious, and determined to succeed, so it comes as no surprise that Katie, an enthusiastic and confident Girl Scout, has applied herself and her can-do mentality to another area in which she succeeds – softball.

kate3Today, in addition to being a Cadette Girl Scout with Troop 02391 in Yorktown she plays on 3 competitive softball teams. “As a kid I won the long ball hitting contest two years in a row, I made my first travel softball team three years ago and last spring our Yorktown In-house Rec Team won the championship game, making us the number one team in the WPBA,” she explains citing some of her many accomplishments. She currently plays for the Hudson Valley Raptors Travel team, the Copper Beach Bobcats, and the Yorktown In-house Rec Team. Through softball she gets to regularly travel and compete throughout Westchester and NYC.

“I love softball because it’s something that I just naturally clicked and enjoyed, There’s nothing more satisfying than feeling your bat connect with the ball or the sound the glove makes when you throw a hard fast strike and celebrating wins with the team.”

We wish Katie the best of luck this softball season, and can’t wait to see what she does next!



Malala-Inspired Bronze Award Project

The 13 fifth grade girls of Tarrytown’s Troop 1484, inspired by the real-life story of the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, planned a recent film screening and panel for their Bronze Award project, the highest honor for a Junior troop. Unfortunately, the PG-13 rating thwarted the troop’s original plans to share the movie with all fifth graders. Instead they scheduled the event for the evening with parental guidance suggested and a much smaller turnout.

“We worked really hard raising money for the movie and the Malala Fund,” said troop member Marli. “I wish more fifth graders and their parents had come and not have been scared off by the PG-13 rating. We are fifth graders now, this is real, bad things happen in life, and that’s how we learn.”

tarrytown bronzeThe girls announced their own names at the podium in the Washington Irving auditorium and explained what it took to make the screening happen. Over the course of three months, they raised more than $400 through a spare change drive. After paying the licensing fee for the film, they were able to donate $300 to the Malala Fund to support girls’ education around the world.

Malala grew up in the Swat Valley of Northwest Pakistan in the classrooms of her father’s schoolhouse. Despite his lifelong stutter, her father was an outspoken critic of the Taliban regime occupying their homeland. Malala’s own public expression began when she started writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu about living under the occupation, when schools were being bombed and girls banned from anything but religious education. When she revealed her identity in a New York Times documentary, she quickly became a well-known advocate for girls’ education. The Taliban targeted her, and she was near-fatally shot on her school bus. Malala was transported to safety in Birmingham, England, which has been her home-base for further activism ever since. As she recovered, her voice only got louder and her stage broader as she now travels the world to advocate for education.

For Tarrytown Girl Scouts, these issues – the fight for equal education, or, the threat of terrorism – are a world away. But the girls connect with Malala and are inspired by her bravery, her ability to speak her mind, the way she always seems to just be herself whether meeting President Obama or joking with her beloved father.

“I am inspired by Malala to always stand up for what I believe in and do what I think is right,” said Maya.

“I really think the story is touching and inspirational. Malala’s story inspires us to raise money for girls’ education,” said Emily.

The panel after the film included Washington Irving Principal Susan Bretti, internal medicine physician Jenny So, Associate Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Heather Hewett, and Adjunct Professor of Health Sciences Amy White. The women answered questions the girls had prepared about why it’s important to educate girls and how we can ensure this happens all over the world.

“What we’ve been doing in the past few weeks with our advocacy and marching – the girls participated in the Unity March, they went to the Women’s March – that is what helps get girls’ voices heard. Being a proud Girl Scout helps,” said troop co-leader Evelyn Poy.

“This was a fun project and we learned a lot about how other girls are treated in other countries,” said troop member Samantha. “I think we should be grateful for what we have.”

Rocky Brook Day Camp: My Summer Escape

Guest Blogger: Stephanie Palacios

Rocky Brook 2014

One of my favorite seasons is just around the corner; Some call it Summer but I like to call it Camp Season. From the end of June to mid-August for the past couple of years, you could find me at Rocky Brook Day Camp (even on the day of my high school graduation). Camp was and still is a place where I can express myself without being judged.  Camp is my summer escape. While many people choose to go on vacation for the summer to catch a break, I couldn’t imagine a summer where I am not at camp.

Working at Rocky Brook has caused me to see capers grow a little every summer. Not only the girls that come back every summer but even the ones who only come for a week. The camping experience causes even the shyest of children to break out of their shell. Every summer we get a few children who won’t speak a word and by the end of their time at camp they become little chatterboxes. It makes me happy to see how the girls have progressed, but I tend to forget that I was once in their position.

Camping has had a large impact on the person I am today. Before arriving at Rocky Brook I was shy and not very outgoing but camp was a place to break out of my shell and be that person I always felt I had the potential to be. Now I’d like to think I am a responsible, energetic, and independent young woman and I can thank Girl Scouts and camp for that. I am now Caramel that silly, fun loving counselor.Rocky Brook 2014 (2)

The more time I spent at camp the more comfortable I became. Once a person becomes comfortable they’re more likely to explore their surroundings, eventually becoming independent. The first few days at camp are always the roughest for many campers since it’s a new environment. Over the years, I have made amazing friends at camp who I will always carry with me. Each person I have met at camp has taught me something that has helped me along the line. To quote my favorite end of camp song “And as the years go by, I’ll think of you and sigh, this is goodnight and not goodbye”.

Hyde Park Girl Scout Partners with National Park Service to Earn 57 Jr Ranger Badges

Through Girl Scouting, Shiloh has been involved with the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program. Over the last 2 years, she has earned 57 Junior Ranger badges and patches.


Through this partnership with the National Park Service, Girl Scouts are encouraged to explore the outdoors and learn about the history of national parks. While having fun at National Parks, Girl Scouts can:18083467_288838671560122_65507982_o

Shiloh enjoys completing the junior ranger books at different sites, because she gets to learn new things. Describing her experience at each National Park or Historic Site, Shiloh shared:

  • At Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, I got to go behind the scenes with a ranger. She showed me the booth where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. She also showed me the offices where the rangers work.
  • At Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site, we went into the basement, which was very spooky. There was a stuffed cat on a shelf in the basement. I thought it was very creepy.
  • 18083641_288856308225025_1767133533_oI explored ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. I climbed up a ladder to the cliff dwelling, and went on a hike.
  • I voted for Women’s Rights and saw the Liberty Bell at Independence National Historic Site.
  • I fed crickets to a grass snake with a ranger at Blue Ridge Parkway National Park.
  • I played on the beach and picked up shells the Assateague Island National Seashore. I saw wild ponies at the beach.
  • I explored Death Valley National Park, which is the hottest place on the planet earth. I really liked the junior ranger activities at that park.
  • At the National Mall and Memorial Parks, in Washington, D.C., I collected a charm from each memorial site and used them to create a charm bracelet that I still wear.
  • I backpacked and camped in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. It rained during our trip. My favorite parts of camping was eating freeze-dried ice cream on my mom’s birthday, and exploring Sand Cave. Sand Cave is a huge cave! My sister and I slid down the sand like we were sledding.
  • At Dinosaur National Monument, I got a private tour of the fossil wall, and I helped a ranger use a screw driver to fix equipment in the building. The fossilized dinosaurs used to be under a big lake.18083777_288850031558986_857115131_o
  • I learned how to track animals with a guide while we spent a few days at Grand Teton National Park. I saw a whole herd of Bison, and I heard wolves howling in the woods, and I got to touch water in a warm spring.
  • At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, I saw lots of Great Blue Herons hunting for fish.
  • I participated in a junior ranger program at Fire Isand National Seashore. The ranger taught me about the shells that are on Fire Island. I learned about the proper way to hold Horseshoe Crabs, and that they don’t hurt you- they just tickle you.
  • At Women’s Rights National Historical Park, I learned that women could not vote or own property in the past, and that women fought for rights.

Shiloh also met the recent requirements for the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York, Girl Scout Patch Program. In addition to learning about women’s rights and women’s suffrage, we used the opportunity to visit Women’s Rights National Historic Park, site of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, located in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Shiloh earned a junior ranger badge at the national park, which helped her engage in the experience.