Thursday, September 23, 2021

Person of the Week

From Daisies to Cadets, McCann Sees Her Troop Grow

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Lisa McCann is one of the troop leaders of Girl Scout Troop 60387, of which her daughter has been a part since she was in kindergarten. Photo courtesy of Lisa McCann

Lisa McCann is one of the troop leaders of Girl Scout Troop 60387, of which her daughter has been a part since she was in kindergarten. (Photo courtesy of Lisa McCann)

As one of the troop leaders for Girl Scout Troop 60387, Lisa McCann has seen her troop, which includes her older daughter Teagan, grow from the Daisy level when they began in kindergarten to the Cadet level as they finish up their 6th-grade year. Though Lisa has always been involved, she hasn’t always been the troop leader.

When the troop was originally formed, it was run by two women and Lisa volunteered to help with the troop’s finances. After two years, though, those two decided to step down and the troop needed new leaders to continue.

“I had been working as a para[professional] for a few years and figured I could handle the girls with a little help,” says Lisa. “Sharon [Arenberg] stepped up as a leader and her husband, Wade, helps us out a lot, too.”

Lisa participated in girl scouts for four years when she was growing up and with fond memories of that time and she hoped for the same when Teagan reached kindergarten. Through their involvement with girl scouts, Lisa has seen Teagan and her troopmates get to experience a variety of activities, such as jewelry-making, camping, and archery.

“The girls didn’t really want to do archery at first, but once they tried it, they really loved it,” says Lisa. “We also have several girls who had never had the chance to go camping, so it’s been fun.”

In addition to the various educational experiences and activities, another focus for the troop is community service projects. Over the years, the girls had an ongoing collection of books for Read to Grow.

They also created a recycling center at Clintonville Elementary School. Some of the members of the troop attended Green Acres Elementary School where a recycling center was in place and they wanted to replicate it at Clintonville. The first year, it began with a bin to collect plastic bottles in the cafeteria and the next year, it expanded to include collection containers in each classroom.

Most recently the girls gathered to plant 12 trees in the community gardener with the Daytime Gardeners club members, who taught the troop about different plants and gardening. They also planted a flower garden at Clintonville Elementary School. The troop has also trained to serve as a color guard and was asked to serve as color guard for the Elks Club in the Memorial Day parade.

While the past year has been a challenge due to COVID, Troop 60387 members still earned their Bronze Award, the highest award that can be earned at their level and which is earned though a troop project. The girls created a video, which they published to YouTube, about how to stay safe and entertain yourself during the pandemic.

“They had a project in mind they weren’t able to do because of pandemic, so they shifted gears to create the video,” says Lisa. “They put that their original project on hold for their Silver Award, which is a team-based project with more independence, responsibility, and ownership.”

Lisa has enjoyed watching the girls progress over the years and begin to take on more of the responsibilities of the troop and a bigger leadership role in projects. The members of the troop vote on things like community service projects and discusses how to earn the different badges.

There are currently 16 girls in the troop, several of whom have been together since the troop formed when they were in kindergarten. Lisa noted that when COVID hit, the meetings moved to a virtual format from March 2020 to August when the troop was finally able to get together for a socially distanced hike.

“They were maxed out with Zoom from school so it was hard and we lost a couple due to the pandemic so we hope they’re going to come back now that we’re getting back to normal,” says Lisa. “When we were able to meet again, the girls voted to meet every week with a fun meeting one week and a business meeting the next. They really missed it.”

Lisa is grateful for a strong support system that not only includes the Arenbergs, but the Girl Scouts of Connecticut (GSOCT), which has a local office and offers support and advice to local leaders. Having been involved for years, Lisa became involved in the GSOCT Service Unit Team. The Service Unit Team is a liaison between leaders and the GSOCT and the team includes positions such as a manager, recruiter, registrar, and other volunteers.

When Lisa’s younger daughter, Ashlin, was old enough, she was already interested in girl scouts having watched her older sister and mom participate for years. Ashlin first got involved through a summer Daisy program run by the town and when it was time for her to join a troop, Lisa was able to be a resource in helping to create that troop.

“I was able to help find people who would lead another troop,” says Lisa, who serves as the treasurer for that troop. “It’s really great because both girls really enjoy doing girl scouts.”

Lisa has also enjoyed her time with girl scouts as she has gotten to meet many different people in town through her troop’s work or through the GSOCT. She also now works as a paraprofessional at North Haven Middle School. Though she works with 8th-graders, she loves seeing members of her troop in the halls or at lunch.

“I have a lot more kids now and the girls in the troop know where to find me if there’s a problem at school,” says Lisa. “My daughters get frustrated sometimes that I have to help everybody, but they’re also appreciative that they have the troop and get to have those experiences.”

In addition to girl scouts, Lisa’s daughters are both involved in dance and tae kwon do. The girls recently performed in their dance recital and both are working on their second-degree black belt in tae kwon do. In the summer, they swim with a summer club.

Lisa enjoys knitting, crocheting, and hiking. Her family enjoys participating in the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s The Sky’s the Limit hiking challenge. She also has a goal of becoming a Giant Master by hiking the 32 miles of trails at Sleeping Giant.

Lisa encourages anyone who has an interest in girl scouts to reach out through the GSOCT website gsofct.org. She notes that North Haven has a troop at nearly age level.

“Once you reach out, GSOCT will help place you in a troop if there is one and help you organize one if there isn’t,” says Lisa. “We all really enjoy being a part of it and the experiences we’ve had through girl scouts.”


Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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