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Milford Girl Scouts 2024 Honorees

Gold Award recipient Elena Papula and Milford Selectman Mike Walsh. Courtesy photo

Bridging and Awards Ceremony recognized present and past awardees, honored sponsors

Milford Girl Scouts celebrated the end-of-the-year with its annual Bridging & Awards Ceremony held on May 31, 2024, at the Milford High School auditorium.  The organization is composed of over 150 girls from kindergarten through 12th grade, spread across 16 troops, accompanied by over 75 adult volunteers.  Girl Scouts take part in community service projects, field trips, badge activities, and camping, while making new friends and giving back to the community in all that they do.  The ceremony celebrated the girls’ accomplishments and shared a heartwarming slideshow of fun times over the past year.  The evening began with a beautiful singing of the National Anthem by Girl Scout alum, Natalie da Cunha.

In recognition of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, quite a few middle school students earned their Bronze Award for community projects that included building bird houses along the Milford Bike Trail by Makayla Barlow; beautifying the park at Louisa Lake by the girls of Troop 64892 (Jacquelyn Bennet, Regina Cincotta, Elyse Fagone, Samantha Fenneuff, Kaylee Files, Grace Iacovelli, Makayla Keenan, Amelia Kimball, Sophia Long, Kitana Matteson, Kennedy McGovern); a playground refresh at her synagogue by Jillian Karlin; and creating community blessing bags for those living with homelessness by Selina Cales and Lyla Fasulo.  

The Silver Award is earned by Girl Scouts Cadettes in 8th grade and their projects included Pronoun Education by Felix Schepis, and a religious inclusive mural at Unitarian Universalist Church by Mila Cales and Ella Knapp.  

Gold Award recipient Elena Papula earned her recognition by completing a mural at the Memorial Elementary School playground. Selectman Mike Walsh presented her with a citation from the Massachusetts State House given by Rep. Brian Murray and a citation from the Milford Select Board on her excellent accomplishment and contribution to the Milford community.  

A highlight of the evening was the past recognition of Milford Gold Award recipients from 1991-2024 with many in attendance as Milford Girl Scouts connected the past projects to the current. This list included projects such as teaching diversity through puppetry, developing a program in Milford for the proper disposal of American flags, building a vegetable garden at St. Marys and a sensory garden at Countryside Health Care Center, and construction projects such as a kiosk at Peppercorn Hill Trail and mountain bike bridge with NEMBA Trails.

All 21 women were introduced, along with their project, by longtime Girl Scout Jane Schroeder who was also a recipient in 1961 with her project of working with children’s classes through the Easter Seals Speech Therapy Program. She gave a humorous recollection of her days as a Girl Scout with fond memories of  all their adventures…camping rain or shine, trips, council events, meetings, and of course, selling Girl Scout Cookies…at 25 cents a box!  

Surprisingly, she still keeps in touch with both her childhood Girl Scouts friends and her troop Girl Scouts girls. Jane states, “Memories of being a Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop, as well as another Milford Senior troop, remind me that it is an honor, privilege, and trust to meet with young women as they mature and adopt the values of Girl Scouting in their lives.”  

 All in attendance were thrilled to hear from Jane and her experiences of the past 60 years of Girl Scouting.

Each year, Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts council recognizes its most valued volunteers and community partnerships, and Milford received several honors: 

-   Milford Fire was applauded as community supporters of Milford Girl Scouts as they are always welcoming for field trips and other special projects as girls work to earn their Safety Award.  

-   April Higaonna was awarded the Volunteer of Excellence for her passion in Girl Scouting, presented by her daughter with love. 

-   Faith Allen was awarded the Appreciation Pin for her involvement with her troop activities and running the town activities of fall fundraising and scouting for food. It was presented by her daughter who said, “Mom, you rock!”.  

All of these volunteers are vital to the success of Milford Girl Scouts and appreciated by the council.

At the conclusion of the evening, girls were able to  “bridge” to the next level of Girl Scouts. Each level was celebrated with music, photos, and a symbolic crossing of the bridge to the next level.  It is the most lively part of the evening with many dancing in their seats to the music and fun photos. The final bridging was eight high school graduates crossing over to adults and all the audience wishing them well as they embark on their next adventure. 

The graduates then led the audience in singing the traditional Girl Scout song, “Make New Friends,” followed by a gathering for girls and their families. As Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.” 

For more highlights, see Milford(MA) Girl Scouts on Facebook and Instagram.

Submitted by Milford Girl Scouts