WOLCOTT – When looking for a way to involve her kindergartner in social activities during the pandemic, Danielle LeRiche-Forkey found that Girl Scouts was just the answer. Not only has she joined Girl Scouts, she is now the leader of Troop 61654 in Wolcott, and this year has provided space to be the Girl Scout Cookie cupboard for her community. LeRiche-Forkey has been named the Volunteer of the Month by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains for all she has provided to the organization.
LeRiche-Forkey, 39, of Wolcott, said the new troop first met outdoors and on Zoom, and she had to learn just what it meant to lead a Girl Scout troop, having never been a Girl Scout herself. Now that things are starting to get back to normal, her Girl Scouts have been eager to earn badges and help their community.
“We have very ambitious girls!” she said, showing her daughter’s Brownie vest, already quite full of badges and fun patches denoting all the activities they’ve done.
Emily Weaver, a co-leader of the troop along with Gina Spiritoso and Crista Peck, nominated LeRiche-Forkey for the honor, saying “Danni is the head leader of this troop and works hard to provide opportunities for the Scouts. She facilitates meetings and outings, provides supplies and directions all while making sure it is a truly girl-led experience. She realizes the importance of Girl Scouts for shaping our future leaders!”
Troop 61654 contains eight active Girl Scouts in grades K-12 with more ready to join, and LeRiche-Forkey gives credit to her co-leaders and parent volunteers for all their help.
“Crista and Gina right now are cookie ladies,” she said, “so they’re the ones managing all the booths, all the organization, the dates, the calling…and that’s amazing!”
Her husband was also able to help, making space in his storage facility available for the hundreds of cookie cases being distributed to Girl Scouts in the area.
The leaders meet weekly, planning and prepping, and make sure everyone is up to speed on how each troop meeting will go.
“We all have that good communication so that the plan is established in the event something happens,” said LeRiche-Forkey.
The troop has gone backyard camping, made a trip to the Get Air trampoline park, gone horseback riding, participated in Girl Scouts Love State Parks and Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors, marched in the local Fourth of July parade, and love learning about STEM and space science. Of course, they learn goal-setting and financial skills through the Girl Scout Cookie program, which has funded some of their activities and trips.
One unique service project they took on was to organize books when their community library moved.
“So now the library is the building next to our town meeting building,” she said, “where we hold our meetings. All of the books kind of came in boxes, but nothing was organized. So the children’s, young adult and picture book areas – our girls went and sorted all of them. The little ones helped sort by the letter, and then we had the next group sorting within that, alphabetizing that, and then the next group carrying them up. They all seemed to really enjoy it and have fun.”
Now that they have given service to the town with projects like this and Green Up Day, they are often asked if they would like to help with a town effort.