O'Fallon Progress

O'Fallon area Girl Scouts, volunteers honored at regional event

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois honored some of its brightest stars at its annual All That Glitters Award Ceremony on April 7 at Doubletree in Mount Vernon. The banquet recognizes Girl Scouts from across Southern Illinois who achieve significant accomplishments in leadership and community service.

Award recipients included 19 recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, as well as 107 recipients of the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette (grades 6-8) can earn. Girl Scouts who earned both of these awards, as well as the Girl Scout Bronze Award, were also presented with GSSI’s Trifecta Award.

In addition, two Madison County Girl Scouts were named Outstanding Graduating Girl Scouts and received $500 scholarships.

Approximately 300 Girl Scout members — adults and girls — from throughout Southern Illinois also elected board of director members and received a “State of the Council” report from Linda Manley of Highland, GSSI Board of Directors outgoing chair, and Loretta Graham, GSSI chief executive officer.

Adult volunteers were also honored at the meeting.

“Girl Scouting in Southern Illinois is strong and growing stronger, but we couldn’t provide outstanding programs and services to our girls without our dedicated Board of Directors,” said Graham. “These dedicated and talented professionals help GSSI achieve its mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”

Gold Award

The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes leadership and positive impact that Girl Scout Seniors (grades 9-10), and Girl Scout Ambassadors (grades 11-12) demonstrate through a large scale community service project that takes a suggested minimum of 80 hours to complete. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls take the rigorous path towards earning this prestigious award, but those who complete the journey change the lives of others, as well as their own, in significant ways.

This year’s Girl Scout Gold Award recipients included Victoria Birchem, Samanda Hartkop, Saran Khalid, all of O'Fallon.

Silver Award

The Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn, is symbolic of accomplishments in Girl Scouting and community activities as a girl becomes her best self and builds the world around her. The Girl Scout Silver Award project benefits a girl’s community and can be earned as an individual or as part of a group.

This year’s local Girl Scout Silver Award recipients were Ayanna Khalid-Manning and Sydney McAuliffe of O'Fallon, as well as Alyssa Harris and Kate Heide-Wexell of Shiloh.

Board of Directors Installed

Two people from O'Fallon will serve as at-large members on the board. Beth Freeburg and James Sabella, both of O'Fallon, were each elected to three-year terms.

Freeburg is a full professor in the School of Education at Saint Louis University, where she teaches in the higher education administration program for domestic and international students. She has 25 years of progressive administrator experience in higher education and her own consulting firm. The expertise she brings to GSSI includes experience in human resources, education, training and grant writing. She also serves on the GSSI Board Development and Fund Development Committee.

Sabella is the owner of Wolfersberger Funeral Home in O’Fallon. He is a retired officer from the United States Air Force. He brings to Girl Scouts special skills in human resources and business. He also volunteers in his community at the VFW and is a church council member. He has been a “cookie dad,” and two of his daughters have been Girl Scouts.

Deanna Litzenburg of Trenton was elected the new incoming chairperson. Manley, the outgoing chair from Highland, will continue to serve GSSI as a member of the Board Development Committee.

Other directors elected were P. Anne Haltenhof of Columbia, first vice chair; Steven Bushong of Waterloo; second vice chair; and Dr. Micki Weaver of Carbondale, Rachel Ruettgers of Mount Vernon, Tracy Fiscus of Centralia, Phil Climaco of Carbondale, Richard Huntington of Mount Vernon, James Sabella of O’Fallon and Beth Freeburg of O’Fallon, members at large.

Other Board Development Committee members elected were Diane Siemer of Teutopolis, Amber George of Herrin, Megan Biggs of Granite City and Carla Nilson of Herrin.

Volunteers honored

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois recognized top Girl Scout volunteers at the meeting. GSSI’s nearly 4,550 Girl Scout volunteers play an important role in providing leadership programming and opportunities for over 11,300 girls in Southern Illinois.

Cathi Ponciroli of Service Unit 201 in O'Fallon/Shiloh was given the Volunteer of Excellence Award.

Service Unit 201 also received the President’s Award.

Appreciation Pins went to Susan Heide-Wexell, Winnie Kenney, Christine Minar, and George Mitchom, all of Service Unit 20.

Debbie McAuliffe of Service Unit 201 also received an Honor Pin.