SPREE INSIDER
(Girl) Scouts’ Honor
By Mary Georger

To the uninitiated, it may seem that the Girl Scouts is simply an organization that sells those sinfully addictive cookies door-to-door every year. Many are likely unaware of the council’s mission, program, and events that aid in the development of hundreds of girls’ lives. The Girl Scouts Council of Buffalo and Erie County has long focused on personal development and life skills leadership training for girls five to seventeen years old. In keeping with this goal, the organization’s Buffalo Spree-sponsored Women of Distinction awards ceremony on September 18 will celebrate five women in the community who serve as successful mentors to selected Girl Scout members.

The nationally celebrated event—now in its fifth year—features five women who are outstanding in their field and maintain a nontraditional job role within the area. This year’s honorees are Carol M. Cassell, executive vice president of business planning and government programs for Independent Health; Kathleen K. Flemming, president, CEO, and founder of Waterford Village Bank; Virginia Mazgajewski, owner of Xtreme Wheels Indoor Skate Park; and Dr. Janet H. Sung, president of Windsong Radiology Group, P.C. Also, past council president Catharine M. Weiss will receive the Alumna Award.

The unique aspect of Women of Distinction is the mentoring process that goes on between the nominated women and a girl scout. Older scouts in grades nine through twelve apply, are interviewed, and are suitably matched to a woman of distinction. The scout visits the woman at her worksite, learns about her career field, and then interviews and writes a speech on her mentor and experience which the youngster will present at the Women of Distinction awards ceremony. “We see a great opportunity for girls who are connected with a leading woman in the community,” says Laurie Mahoney, director of development for Girl Scouts Council of Buffalo and Erie County.

The evening’s highlight is when each of the five scouts acts as a presenter and reads her speech on the experience with her mentor. “Most people are blown away by the poise and the content with which the girls write and present,” says Mahoney. Older scouts are not the only members of the council who are involved in Women of Distinction. And the entire event is “girl-run.” Younger scouts are involved with the flag ceremony and act as ambassadors. The program’s two emcees are also past presenters. Women of Distinction highlights the foundation on which Girl Scouts is based, which is not just cookies and patches, but most importantly leadership. “Girl Scouts is truly a leadership-building program,” says Mahoney.

Mary Georger is a Spree editorial intern currently attending Syracuse University.


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