Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cookie Sale 2016/2017

Joanne Gibson, our new Service Unit Cookie Mentor for NR, will hopefully have troop cookie materials for troops to pick up at the November meeting as well as samples of cookies including the new S’mores cookie!! This season marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies to fund their activities and adventures.
The cookie season starts on December 9th and Jo will be putting together information for booth sales at Wal-Mart and Stop and Shop and she sent an email already to your designated Cookie Troop Managers about this. 
SNAP will be open on November 8th for lottery entries to win a COBS (Council Organized Booth Sale) at MBTA stations.  Your Cookie Manager MUST pay attention to the instructions on the GSEM site and meet the December 2nd deadline in order to be considered for an MBTA COBS, including requiring two adult troop members who need to submit paperwork for COBS.  Troops can enter up to 100 entries to try and win a COB.  Please remind your Cookie Manager to go on the GSEM cookie site and click on the For Cookie Sellers page and learn about how to get started so your troop is ready to go when the season starts! 
Jo’s contact information is  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fall For Service 11/20/16

Forever Girl Scouts are partnering with Project Sweet Pea - Multiple Miracles for an afternoon of service, conversation and refreshments. Join us in making fleece blankets and knit hats to donate to families with children in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Boston-area hospitals on November 20 from 1-3 at Camp Rice Moody in Reading.

Forever Girl Scouts are adults who were girl members, volunteers as adults and adults who wish to support the Girl Scout Movement.  Please see flyer here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Leader Meeting Minutes 10/11/16

NRGS Volunteer Leader Meeting – Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016
Meeting began at 7:35 p.m.
Service team members and Volunteer Leaders in attendance: Debbie Nearing, Service Unit Coordinator and Troop 73891; Anne Valade, Fall Sale Promoter; Jo Gibson, Hood School Coordinator and SU Cookie Manager and Troops 62548/69175;  Amy Kelly, SU Membership Promoter, Troops 62804/73897/71901; Kristen Puliafico, Little School Coordinator; Denise Kung Troop 62798; Kristen Pemberton Troop 69171; Michelle Gerokoulis Troop 62796; Rebecca Lowe Troop 68550; Kate Mahoney Troop 71868; Kerri Antonuccio Troop 62803; Joanna Maguire Troop 78188; Karianne Bekier Troop 62803; Cindy DeWolfe Troop 85336; Julie Galvin Troop 62802; Jenn Vant Troops 85337/76212; Amber O’Driscoll Troop 76211

Welcome email - All girl parents should have received a welcome email from NRGS. If they didn't, please let Debbie know.

Juliette Low's Birthday - founder of GS -  Oct 31. Google for fun ideas to celebrate with your girls. Idea: you can have each girl bring something you need for a later event as a "gift" (e.g. craft supplies) to your party.

Registration - The process was changed this year. It's all done via online (vs paper) registration and Council handles all placements. If a new girl signs up via the Opportunity Catalog with a specific troop, she's all set. Otherwise, new girls get placed in a "pool" and Council contacts the parents to help place them into a troop. Amy has no visibility into this process - she cannot see which girls are waiting to be placed and she does not get notified when a particular girl is placed. If you are waiting for a girl to show up on your roster, please email Amy directly for help ( She will contact Council. In order to make sure no one is getting lost, Amy is going to be sending out full troop rosters to each leader listing all the girls and adult volunteers in your troop. All registered girls in your troop should be showing up in NutE (the online system) for the Fall Sale.
Another issue this year - new leaders cannot get their online access without going through the Troop Pathway orientation. Existing leaders need to make sure they renew their CORI's, which are good for 3 years, but GS asks that you renew early a couple months early or they lock you out of your online account. The CORI deadline is coming up in January. Tip: you can go to a notary to fill out your paperwork, you don't have to do it through the service team.
Kindergarten Registration - registration and new troop formation was also bumpy this year due to the new process. Currently, there is NO kindergarten troop at the Little School. The advertising and flyers got stalled in the system and never made it into backpacks. There was a lot of discussion about how to spread the word about GS to the Little School - talking to Ms Molle, advertising in the next PTO newsletter, various Facebook pages. We need to get the word out (tell your neighbors). Anne says to remember there is no cut off for registration - girls can sign up throughout the year.
Early Bird patches - some troops have still not picked these up. Amy will be delivering them to leader mailboxes.

Fall Products - We sampled some fall products at the meeting, including nuts and candy. Anne Valade is the coordinator, direct any questions to her or watch the training videos. Make sure all girls are in the NutE system because THE DEADLINE IS THIS FRIDAY 10/14 to get girls in. If they are not in the system, you cannot put in orders for them. Travis Sammons can help get girls registered quickly if you email him directly.

Spooky Tales – Forms are now due for the event.  If your troop is attending, please get your form to Anne and please include the number of girls participating.  Anne is at 24 Abbott Rd.  and her email is

Halloween party - Jo still needs volunteers for party setup, running crafts and games. We might not have enough decorations. Jo is talking to the people running a Halloween party at the Batch. The Moose doesn't want to loan out its Halloween decorations this year. She could use more inflatables and wall decorations (we have table decorations). Patches will be ordered tonight.  Right now we have about 50-55 signups.

Caroling on the Common - Drop off is at the top of the common. After caroling, we walk over to the Union Congregational Church for making cards and cookies. Pick up is from the Church. You can stick around to sing, but siblings cannot go to the church because we won't have enough food and supplies. Registration forms were accepted for this event.

Veteran's Day - Nov 11 at the Town Common. Can be moved inside to the Batch, weather depending. Event is for boy and girl scouts. There are usually refreshments in the meeting house afterwards. We ask the girls to attend in uniform for the ceremony to represent GS. If you want to participate in the event (flag ceremony) or help with refreshments, contact

Service Projects – A couple of years ago, we collected for the food pantry around Christmas, but not this year, but your troop can participate individually. Other ideas for service projects - meals on wheels (make crafts, cards, etc) that can be sent to the seniors getting meal delivery. On the blog there is a whole section on ideas for service projects. This can be helpful for earning a badge. Amy's troop earned their garden badge by inviting the North Reading Garden Club to teach the girls about planting and helping them plant bulbs (which were donated by a local business). Amy encourages you to reach out to any organization or business in the community and to be creative in how you earn your badges. What's important is understanding the meaning behind the badge (or journey too).

Encampment - Debbie. At this event, girls of all ages from our service unit come together to enjoy outdoor activities, learn skills, and camp overnight (no Daisies). Daisies can come for Saturday only. You need to be certified for camping - get your training ASAP if you are interested. Check the online GSEM Guide for trainings.
The best date appears to be Father's Day weekend (June 16-18). Debbie says you can leave by Saturday night to get back for Sunday (or just  come for Saturday). She is going to submit the request and list that weekend as our first choice. We're trying to work around lots of other events including HS graduation, Relay for Life, etc. Debbie would like to get some older girls (6th grade and up) and adults on the planning committee. She needs lot of help to plan and chaperone the event.

Bring any leftover materials you have to the November meeting e.g. craft supplies, discs (for membership pins), books, etc. Hand them down to another troop.

Next meeting is Monday Nov 14th, Library Activity Room 7:30 – we will have an Investiture Ceremony for new Volunteer Leaders and a Rededication Ceremony for existing Leaders.

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Caroling on the Common 12/11/16

Our annual Caroling for all ages will be held on Sunday, December 11 from 3 to 4:30PM.  We will meet at the Third Meeting House (on the common) for Caroling and then move to the Union Congregational Church for cookies and cocoa and to make holiday cards for Veterans.  The flyer can be found here
If you'd like to help prep crafts, get refreshments, and/or setup and cleanup on the day of the event, please respond to There is no charge for this event.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall Product Sale

The sale will kick off this Friday, September 23.  All registered troops will receive – by mail – enough packets for all the registered girls in your troop – regardless if you intend to sell Fall Product or not.  I suggest you consider participation in the sale as it will bring funds to your troop and help support all GSEM does.  The process is easy and the troops will receive a 15% profit for all of its sales.  If you DO NOT want to participate in the sale, we would like to request that you let us know and Anne will arrange to pick up the packets you’ve received so they can be distributed to troops who may need additional packets.  All participating troops are asked to have your Fall Product Chair email Anne Valade so communications regarding the sale can be sent.  Email our Fall Product Mentor, Anne Valade, at  

Some helpful tips:
*  Fall Product Coordinators should all be registered and CORI'd at this point.
*  All girls should be set up in the Nut-E system
*  Please be sure to submit your Troop Bank Account Information to Council!  Use this form.  If you have not yet set up a Troop Bank Account, click here to find out how to set up your account Troop Banking Account Information form.   This needs to be done ASAP as Council will be unable to submit any troop product orders that you have without the banking information. 
Opt Out Option for Junior, Cadette, Senior or Ambassador troops:
   If your troop would like to Opt-Out of girl recognitions to earn additional proceeds, sign the form by this Friday, 
October 7.  By doing so, your troop will earn an additional 2% in proceeds but please make sure the girls know they will not receive any recognitions or patches.  Girls need to unanimously agree to forgo individual recognitions.  So please discuss it with the girls before they vote to Opt Out!
*  Don't forget to use the QSP online portal.  Using the online portal is a great way to let family and friends know that they have the opportunity to support your Girl Scouts! Send email, texts, and even post to Facebook! Purchasing new magazines or renewing favorites is so easy to do online and in doing so, it gets the magazines to the customers much faster!
*  If your unclear about any aspect of the Fall Product Sale,  view the online training videos here or on the website  under the "Program Training" section.
*  Still need more packets for your troop??  I have a tote on my porch that you can pick up extras from.  If you have extras that you'd like to leave for others to use, please drop them in the tote.     
    I'm at 24 Abbott Rd.  Red gambrel on your left side.


Updates from GSEM and GSUSA

After attending a GSEM training yesterday, the NR Service Unit was provided with clarification as to when GSUSA membership and criminal background (CORI) is required by adults.  EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, adults who attend troop meetings, chaperone, drive girls and attend overnights and/OR troop/service unit events/activities MUST COMPLY with the Criminal Background Check Policy and be registered and CORIed screened volunteers.  This information is included in the Volunteer Essentials as well.  This REPLACES AND ELIMINATES “adults can attend one meeting or event”! 

  • Volunteers must be registered adult members of Girl Scouts with a current, eligible CORI/SORI which must be submitted for approval three weeks prior to having ANY contact with girls, access to their personal information, or managing funds.
  • Troop leaders and assistant troop leaders must have completed necessary training as listed in the CORE Learning Plan for Troop Volunteers and Camping Learning Plan for Volunteers.
Families who participate in “public events” do not require membership or compliance with CORI’s when participating exclusively as a family. However, if the event is an overnight, then membership and criminal background check is required for family/all adults.

As detailed in Volunteer Essentials, page 15, when transporting girls to planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities that are outside the normal meeting place, EVERY driver must be an approved volunteer, over 21 years old, have a good driving record, valid license, and registered/insured vehicle.  Everyone must be in a legal seat; wear a seat belt at all times and adhere to state laws regarding booster seats and requirements for children in rear seats.  When driving girls, there MUST BE AT LEAST TWO (2) UNRELATED, APPROVED VOLUNTEER IN EACH VEHICLE, ONE OF WHOM IS FEMALE, and the girl-volunteer ratio must be followed.  For approved volunteers, see the paragraph above.  Annual permission or medical forms for each girl should be kept in the vehicle in which the girl is riding.  

If a group is traveling in one vehicle, there must be at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers in the vehicle, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in the “Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need” from Volunteer Essentials section must be followed. 
If a group is traveling in more than one vehicle, the entire group must consist of at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in the “Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need” section must be followed. Care should be taken so that a single car (with a single adult driver) is not separated from the group for an extended length of time

For clarity on which adults can participate in Girl Scouts while girl members are present, the former “adult-to-girl ratios” are now called “volunteer-to-girl ratios.”  The language reflects their Criminal Background Check Policy.  Volunteer-to-girl ratios have been updated by GSUSA beginning with the 2016-2017 troop year and the number of required volunteers has decreased from last year’s levels.  Check out Volunteer Essentials, pages 13 and 63 to see the new ratios and to get an overview of volunteer requirements. Remember, girl members who are 18 years old CANNOT serve as a volunteer.  They are girl members and count in your girl count, not the volunteer count. 

The Meeting in Home Forms has been updated and troops/groups seeking to meet in homes WILL NEED to request approval ANNUALLY.  Public meeting spaces are always preferred and meeting in homes is limited.

The Online Volunteer Agreement has been updated for 2016-2017.  Every volunteer is required to complete the Online Volunteer Agreement ANNUALLY.

Spooky Tales Along Dark Trails - NRGS Older Girl Activity

This year, NRGS is having a new Halloween event for the older troops (grades 6-12).  Troops are invited to choose a landmark within the Historic District and build a spooky tale to share with the group.  Possible locations:  Various buildings on the Putnam House Property, Damon Tavern, Library, Gazebo, Building on the Common, Batchelder School, UCC, etc.  It’s ok for more than one troop to use the same location.   When you sign up, please let us know which landmark your troop would like to use.  Your girls can use history or make up their own story to share by acting, or read to the group.  Costumes and props are optional.  Troops can also come as spectators.  Please see the attached flyer here for more information.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Leader Meeting Minutes 9/13/16

In Attendance: Joanna Maguire 78188, Michelle Gerokalis 62796, Denise Kung 62798, Kristen Pemberton 69171, Joanne Gibson 69175, Mary Hatton 78181, Kristin Puliafico ST, Kate Mahoney 71861, Amy Kelly 73897, 62804,71901, Karianne Bekier 62803, Ruth Kennedy 73899, Cindy DeWolfe 85336, Anne Valade ST, Debbie Nearing 73891, Kim Lambert Serna, Volunteer Support Specialist from Council

The meeting was held at the Library Activity Room on 9/13/16 and started at 7:30pm with the Pledge of Allegiance and the GS Promise.

Anne welcomed everyone.

Amy explained leaders have until 9/30 to register their girls online, after that parents will need to register the girls themselves. There will be a troop formation meeting on 9/20 at the LAR from 6-8:30pm. This is for new Scouts. Amy has early bird patches if any leaders need them. Patches were given out to those troops who were at the meeting.

To open your troop to new girls go to the opportunity catalog "open your troop" and then parents can find what troops are available for their daughter to join. The minimum number for a troop is 5. GSEM would like to see at least 12.

Anne: Introduced Kim Lambert Serna from council who is our Volunteer Support Specialist.

Anne talked about upcoming events:
September: registration event on 9/20, the first half hour is to learn what Girl Scouts is about then the troop formation. Please send anyone who might be interested to attend the event.

Annual Halloween party is Oct. 22, 1-3 at the Moose. This is a drop off event for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors. Jo Gibson is running the event and is looking for adult volunteers. The flyer was sent in last week’s Monday email and is on the blog.  The deadline for signing up for the party is Oct. 10. The next Leader meeting is Oct. 11 so any forms can be brought to that meeting.

Spooky Tales along Dark Trails event, this is for grades 6 and up. Girls create a spooky story and walk around the center story telling. Refreshments at the Congo church to follow. The flyer will be attached to the Monday email. This is a free event. Bring a flashlight.

Apple Festival is on 9/17. Melissa Audier and her girls will be running games and face painting.

Fall Product kick off is 9/23. Council has changed the training. They now have an open house where you can pick up materials and sample products. If you are a registered troop, council will send you a package with a kit for every registered girl in your troop. Anne is the fall product mentor, please see Anne with any questions.

If you plan to raise funds for your troop such as having a yard sale or event, the troop needs to participate in BOTH the fall product and cookie sale.

The Girl Scouts store has moved to Camp Maude Eaton and is no longer on route 114.

Caroling on the Common event is on Dec. 11, 1-3. Lisa Alexander will be running this event. This is open to all NRGS registered girls and there is no charge for this event. This event is always well attended.

Debbie: Encampment? Should we skip a year or do another this spring? If we go ahead, we would need to know by November so we can apply for the date we would like at the campsite we need. Once decided we will establish an encampment committee and open it to older girls to give their ideas too.

Amy: Possible Bingo Candy event in November? Amy will keep us posted on this event.

Anne: Does anyone have any questions about uniforms? Do you know how to change the uniform when moving to the next level? Amy has lots of colored discs if anyone needs them. Blue= Daisies, Green=Brownies, Yellow=Juniors, White=Cadettes. Stars move to the next uniform. You can also buy a numeral pin starting with year 5 instead of wearing the membership stars.

Anne: Should we break into groups by age level or have a question/answer session?

Debbie: mentioned Meals on Wheels. This is at the Senior Center at the building on the common. Meals are given to elderly who can't leave their homes. Girl Scouts have made tray decorations to cheer them up. Anything from a card or small craft item, but not food items. Usually they need 20-30 but you can make how many you want to help brighten someone's day! 

Leader question: Should we plan something to attract girls to the Veteran's Day event? Any ideas?

Kristin: There are Girl Scout handbooks for all levels in the children's room in the library. These do not get checked out but you may see them there for reference.

Anne: On our blog, there is a whole section of service project ideas and lists of fun activities. The Ultimate Guide is out! Trainings are listed in the guide too and it’s also online if you didn’t get one mailed to you.

Kim from council said our NRGS Service Unit is a wealth of info. with lots of useful and correct information and she’s always impressed!
Don't forget to fill out the yearly annual permission form and the volunteer agreement. This can be done online.

Debbie will be sending an email for volunteers who need to be cori'd or you will have received it from GSEM already. Anyone with access to the girls as well as funds or girl information will need to be registered and cori'd.

Customer care # 844-306-4736. You can call this number with any GS questions you have.

Meeting Day for leader meetings? Which day of the week does everyone prefer?  We will keep Tuesdays for now and after December switch to either Monday or Thursday.

Anne passed the torch to Debbie who will be the sole Service Unit Coordinator in the new membership year starting on Oct. 1.

Lisa Alexander will take over as the corresponding secretary, and continues as treasurer and event coordinator but we are seeking volunteers who may be interested as the recording secretary as well as a treasurer to alleviate some of the positions from Lisa. 

Amy Kelly will remain as registrar but her new title is Service Unit Membership Promoter (SUMP)

Jo Gibson is Hood School coordinator,
Kristin Puliafico- Little School coordinator.
We are looking for a Batch school coordinator.

We are looking for someone to record the minutes during the leader meetings until we find a recording secretary. This position could be shared. Kate Mahoney volunteered to take the minutes at the next leader meeting on Oct. 11.

Next meetings (tentatively): Oct. 11, Nov. 9, Dec. 13, Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 15.

Meeting ended 8:45pm