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Alum

Our Alum Network brings together women who want to reconnect with old friends and make new ones though fun groups and events. We are building a culture of philanthropy and engagement through volunteer opportunities, both within Girl Scouting and our broader community.

52 week alum header

This year, Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England will celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouting! To commemorate this milestone, we will be highlighting one Girl Scout Alum a week on our various social media platforms, as well as featuring them below (click the drop-down arrow to view). We hope you enjoy this inspiring journey hearing from Girl Scouts of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Allie Curtis - Week 1
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Q: What advice would you give to a young Girl Scout?

A:  “I would encourage young Girls Scouts to practice courage daily. In college, I began challenging myself to live by Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to channel my own fears into a force to grow. In that spirit, I would encourage young girls to take every opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and be bold!” 

Elizabeth “Betty” Cugini - Week 2
Nancy and Bettie

For more than 50 years, Elizabeth “Betty” Cugini has supported Girl Scouting locally by volunteering her time, and sharing her love of the organization with others. Recently, Betty was showcased in the “Making a Difference” section of Hill, Pond, and Preserve, a monthly newsletter for the residents of the Watch Hill area, which Betty calls home. When talking about her Girl Scout experience as a child, Betty says, “Many years ago, there weren’t a lot of organizations for girls. For boys there was baseball and football. My fourth-grade teacher was kind enough to start a Girl Scout troop. It was like heaven for us girls.”  Betty began volunteering when her daughter, Betty-Jo, joined a Brownie troop and the rest is history! From troop leader and Community Chair to serving as President of Girl Scouts of Rhode Island from 1986-1992, she has truly done it all. As her interview with Elizabeth McCabe ended, Betty shared, “Giving comes tenfold. I will never live long enough to give back what the Girl Scouts have given me.” We thank Betty for her dedication to Girl Scouting, for her commitment to being a GS Alum, and for giving back more than she will ever know.

Meg DeCubellis - Week 3
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Q: What do you believe makes an exceptional leader?

A: “Remembering what it’s like to not be a leader. To remember moments when you weren’t in charge, what it’s like to be led and questioning what it means to lead someone.”

Q: What advice would you give to a young Girl Scout?

A: “Do what you really love. If it doesn’t sound right, don’t do it. Think about who you are. Deep down you really know what you like, you should do that. If you don’t like something, be honest; listen to yourself.”

Caitlyn Tiodor - Week 4
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Q: How do you use what you learned as a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader)™ today?

  • Go-getter! I am always up for a new challenge. Girl Scouts has really helped me to be more outgoing. If I see a goal that I want to reach then I go all in for it. No excuses are made and no exceptions.
  • Innovator! When you grow up doing “Do It Yourself” projects you learn how to improvise. By doing this you become more able to think outside the box. If you have ever been to camp, then you know that innovation is a must. Whether you leave your hair ties at home and you use a rubber band to tie back your hair to cook over the fire, or if you overpack and you must figure out how to fit your crafts in your bag with your clothes. There is always a need for innovation, and Girl Scouts is a great place to learn how to do that.
  • Risk-Taker! If you don’t take risks in life you can call it being “safe”. You think you’re building a protective wall around you, but you’re just trapping yourself in. Sometimes you must lose to enjoy the win and sometimes you must be sad to really understand being happy. That’s how life works.
  • Leader! Being a leader to me means stepping up when no one else will. It means to not only be the first to go ahead but also to be the last one to follow and make sure no one is left behind. It means speaking up for the ones unable to speak or are too scared to speak for themselves. A leader listens to everyone’s point of view and comes to a fair middle ground, they put what they are leading before themselves. There is no perfect task that defines a leader. I believe anyone can be a leader. If you run a group in your community then you’re a leader, but even you decide not to litter when “everyone else does” you are still accounted for as a leader. You go against the grain and stand for what you truly believe no matter what. Those are the characteristics of a good leader!
Jennifer Leigh - Week 5
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Girl Scout Alum Jennifer Leigh is the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy at CVS Health, an avid equestrian, and the Committee Chair of GSSNE's upcoming Cookies & Cocktails event.

We recently touched base with Jen for our #gssne52alum project and got to learn a bit more about her love of Girl Scouting. She also shared some great pics with us!

Q: "What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?" 
A: "Some of my best childhood memories are from my time in the Girl Scouts! I still vividly remember my bridging ceremony, crossing over the bridge and looking into the mirror at the Brownie Pool. I can also still sing the words to “Make New Friends” (and perform it in sign language!), and I think buried somewhere in my garage is my mess kit from camp."


Q: "How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?" 
A: "I choose to be a G.I.R.L by weaving my passion for giving back to the community, in both my personal and professional life. I absolutely love what I do for a living, managing charitable giving for CVS Health, a company that gives back in so many meaningful ways. And, I’m inspired by the nonprofits I volunteer for, such as the Girl Scouts, and feel privileged to support organizations that have an impact on our local communities."

Alums like Jen not only inspire our organization but hopefully inspire our Girl Scouts as well! We are so appreciative of her dedication to the Girl Scout Mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place!

Nancy Armstrong - Week 6
Nancy Armstrong-Headshot

Nancy Armstrong is a lifelong Girl Scout and dedicated volunteer to the Girl Scout organization. She has inspired generations of girls throughout her lifetime and has been working to make the world a better place one girl at a time. Nancy grew up in New York State and was a Girl Scout in Port Dickinson; her Girl Scout lineage runs deep as her mother was one of GS founder, Juliet Gordon Low’s, first leaders. As a young Girl Scout, Nancy earned the highest award achievable, the Curved Bar, which is now known as the Girl Scout Gold Award. Staying true to her dedication to Girl Scouting, she served on the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island (now Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England) Board of Directors and held various volunteer positions including the Finance Committee; Nancy was also a State Cookie Chairperson. She has been an avid Rhody Rockets canoe team supporter since 1965 and believes strongly in the Girl Scout mission. Along with her dedication to her various volunteer positions; Nancy has been the recipient of some touching accolades including the Girl Scout Thanks Badge I & II and was honored, as a thoughtful birthday gift from her daughters, as a 2015 Independent Spirit Award winner. Nancy is a proud mother of two daughters and enjoys living her life to the fullest by consistently giving back to her community. We can all learn so much from Nancy—she is a true Girl Scout through and through!

Kristin Divona - Week 7
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Say hello to GS Alum, Kristin Divona! Kristin is a designer and illustrator for NASA and works as the Visualization Information Specialist NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory. We asked Kristin about Girl Scouting for our #gssne52alums project and here are her thoughts!

Q: What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?

A: “I vividly remember my house being filled with towers of cookie boxes—from the hallway to the front door all the way to the kitchen. My mom was our troop leader so all of the cookies came to our house before being distributed. I was very proud to have earned my Whale of a Sale patch!”

Q: How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?

A: “In my work-life, I'm a designer and illustrator for NASA— following my heart to go to art school was definitely a risk! In my non-work life, I am a board member of AIGA, a graphic design non-profit. I'm proud to have established a yearly event called KnowHer Design Talks, which considers the importance of role models in visual practices where women remain underrepresented. The event hosts female local and legendary practicing artists who shape and define our designed world.”

Q: What is your current occupation, and do you think Girl Scouts inspired your pathway?

A: “I'm a designer, illustrator, and educator. I'm the Visual Information Specialist for NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and a professor at Rhode Island College. At NASA, I visually interpret concepts related to astrophysics and X-ray astronomy, connecting everyday life to science exploration and technology. While I only spent a year as a Brownie, I spent a summer as a Girl Scouts Camp Counselor. I do believe this experience influenced me—all of the women I met there were leaders in different ways, but they all had a we-can-figure-this-out attitude. I approach my current job in the same way!”

Julie Sygiel - Week 8
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Julie Sygiel, Senior Director of Lifetime Membership at Girl Scouts of the USA is a Girl Scout Alum, co-founder of The Lady Project, founder of Dear Kate, and a Brown University Alum with her degree in Chemical Engineering. She inspires us every day, and we hope you'll enjoy her Q&A!

Q: What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?

A: "There are so many, but if I had to choose, I'd say selling cookies and meeting my goal of selling 10,000 boxes over 12 years! At first when I was 6 years old, I would hide behind my Mom or Dad as we knocked on doors in the neighborhood because I was painfully shy. They would say, “Julie here has a question to ask you,” and before the silence got too awkward, I had to find the courage to say, “Would you like to order a box of Girl Scout cookies?” Each year, talking to people got easier and I learned how to set goals, build customer loyalty, and embrace responsibility and follow through. I loved seeing people's faces light up each year when I would come around to take their cookie orders."

Q: How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?

A: "I work at Girl Scouts of the USA's national headquarters in NYC, overseeing the alum and lifetime membership initiatives. I am a team leader who loves dreaming up innovative new ideas to reconnect with our alums and elevate lifetime members! I've also been involved with several startup initiatives, including Dear Kate (a startup that makes high-performance underwear for periods), The Lady Project, and The Pockets Project (@pocketsproject). New brands and organizations in the beginning stages require a go-getter attitude 24/7 and comfort with measured risk-taking. During the product development process at Dear Kate, we filed US patent applications for the fabric technology, so I'd say I embody a bit of each G.I.R.L. characteristic!"

Q: How do you think Girl Scouts inspired your career path?

A: "Selling cookies in Girl Scouts gave me the confidence to think that I could start a business! In addition to building my confidence, the values I learned in Girl Scouts informed my career priorities. At the end of every Girl Scout meeting, we would always say the Promise and Law, pledging to make the world a better place. All of my career endeavors to date have focused on improving women's lives in some way. Girl Scouts helped me stop and think how my actions affect others and instilled a desire to spend my time working toward positive change."

Mai Donohue - Week 9
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Mai Donohue is the author of “Crossing the Bamboo Bridge – Memories of a Bad Luck Girl”. She is a 2018 GSSNE Leading Women of Distinction Awardee and Girl Scout Alum. Along with being an author, Mai is a chef, teacher, motivational speaker, mentor, wife, and mother. Growing up as a young Girl Scout in Vietnam, Mai has had life experiences many of us cannot imagine.

Her resilience mixed with her Girl Scout courage, confidence, and character, not only allowed for her to make her own world a better place but the world around us as well. We thank Mai for her friendship, compassion, laughter, and Girl Scout spirit. We hope you can take the time to read her story, it is eye-opening and enlightening. If you would like to learn more about Mai, and her book, click here

Pam Hyland - Week 10
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Q: What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?

A: "I have so many! One, as a Senior Girl Scout, was a bus trip throughout New England with 80 girls. I still remember wanting to wash my hair and the only way to do it was in an ice cold river—everyone thought I was crazy, but I had to feel clean! When we returned from our trip we were asked to share one experience we had with the girls at camp. The Assistant Camp Director told me that I connected well with the girls and that I should consider coming to camp next summer as a counselor. I did and I’ve been with the Girl Scouts ever since! We should never underestimate the power of an uplifting comment. This one compliment launched a 42-year career in the Girl Scouts."

"Another memory was being asked to recite the Gettysburg address following our town’s parade. I really don’t like memorizing things, but I wanted to accept this challenge. I did it on crutches because the weekend before I was at Girl Scout Camp Maria Pratt and was the first person in an over-filled toboggan resulting in my legs being outside the front of the toboggan. When we hit a tree it was the tree followed by my legs and then the rest of the Girl Scouts in the toboggan. I remember being upset at my Dad for not letting me go back to camp after my emergency room visit. I loved camp!"

Q: How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?

A: "I hope I use all of these at different times as needed. I love possibility thinking and brainstorming ideas with others and one must be a go-getter and risk-taker to turn those ideas into reality. I use my innovator by listening to others and then finding the patterns and connections in what is said. The best ideas are really a compilation of many ideas and I love using my strategic-thinking strength to find the connections in all the ideas that come from the girls, staff, and volunteers we serve. I choose to be the leader of this amazing organization because I believe in it. I try to bring out the best in our staff and volunteer team because none of us succeeds alone."

Q: What is your current occupation, and do you think Girl Scouts inspired your pathway?

I am the CEO of Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England. Girl Scouting absolutely inspired my pathway. I knew that I wanted to work for an organization I believed in and there is no organization I believe in more."

Anna Edwards - Week 11
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Anna Edwards is a Girl Experience Coordinator at GSSNE and a Rhode Islander who grew up on Block Island. After graduating from college in Colorado, she moved to New York City to start her career. After a few years, she decided to move home to Ocean State to pursue work in the non-profit sector. When she serendipitously stumbled upon a job opening at GSSNE it was a perfect fit! We asked Anna about Girl Scouting for our GSSNE 52 Week Alums project and here are her thoughts!

Q: “What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?”

A: “Going to Camp Hoffman! As an incredibly shy kid, attending overnight camp really pushed me out of my comfort zone. After my first session at Hoffman, I fell in love with the property and camp activities and continued to return summer after summer!”

Q: “How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?”

A: “I love the G.I.R.L. concept! I use my innovative mindset on a daily basis at GSSNE trying to find new and exciting ways for Girl Scouts to engage in the world around them!”

Colleen Holder Allen - Week 12
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For this weeks' 52 Weeks Alum project we were happy to take a trip down memory lane with GSSNE Alum and Lifetime Member, Colleen Holder Allen. While Colleen now calls New Hampshire her home, it’s clear to see she holds a very special place in her heart for Rhode Island, and specifically, Camp Hoffman. We asked her to reminisce about what has made Girl Scouting so special to her over the years and she had a lot to share. We hope you enjoy reading Colleen’s story!

Colleen: “I was a Daisy for two years and asked my mom to send me to resident camp going into first grade. Looking back, she can't believe she sent me for a week when I was only seven!

I was lucky to be part of a really active troop. I joined them in third grade and the majority of the troop stayed together until we graduated high school. Surprisingly, the memories that stand out are from all of our camping trips. From eating a jungle breakfast in Birch Cove at Camp Hoffman, going through a haunted house in Trefoil during a fall trip, making up dance routines to popular songs while spending the weekend at Long House, sledding at the Narrow River Cabin, and even exploring Newport with a trip to Camp Rocky Farm.

All of those positive experiences lead me to my years at Camp Hoffman. There are so many wonderful memories from my time there as a girl and as an adult. But the friendships I made are what truly shape each memory. One friend I met on a three-day session at Hoffman—we were going through one of the first programs that would lead us to become counselors. Eleven years later, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding and just two years ago I was one in hers.

I choose to be a G.I.R.L. today by being a leader. I never thought that being a Girl Scout Leader was something I would do, but it has opened the door for me to give back. I'm working hard on teaching my Daisy troop how much fun Girl Scouts can be and how there are so many exciting opportunities to give back through service projects and to discover what your passions are in life.

My journey in Girl Scouts definitely made me who I am today. Girl Scouts taught me that being outside and camping was what made me happy. I went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in Adventure Education. I moved to Alaska shortly after as a newlywed. I joined Girl Scouts there and was offered my dream job (Outdoor Program Manager with GS), but turned it down because the timing just wasn't right. Instead, I became a mom. Who knew all those sleepless nights with homesick campers would help me persevere through a baby who cried all night? Those slow campfire songs became my lullabies. And I learned how to talk to kids. I'm still a stay-at-home mom. I may not have entered the workforce, but instead, I became a Girl Scout Leader. If I can share my love for the outdoors and teach the girls to live their life with the Girl Scout Law as their moral compass then I've made my impact! I can teach my kids that working hard for your dreams does work. I still need one more year at Camp Hoffman to earn my 20-year pin and I have new goals now as a troop leader—I can’t wait to see where Girl Scouting continues to take me.”

Michelle Jessop - Week 13
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Say hello to our GSSNE 52 Week Alum Girl Scout, Michelle Jessop! We touched base with Michelle to hear about what makes Girl Scouting so special to her!

Q: What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?
A: "I loved going on camping trips with my troop. I didn't join Girl Scouts until I was in 7th grade and it was because my best friend kept telling me about the great trips her troop went on. I loved spending extra time with my friends in the troop, and we loved to cook so we always ate really well!" 
Q: How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?
A: "I try my best to lead by example. I have a troop now, and I make sure to tell them about my memories in Girl Scouting and try to make sure they are making their own. I let them choose their own paths, and hope that they are learning from their mistakes as well as successes."
Q: How do you think Girl Scouts inspired your career path?
A: "I honestly don't think Girl Scouts had any impact on which profession I chose, but I do think it has helped me a lot in that path. I am more confident when talking to people than I otherwise would have been, and I volunteer to take up tasks that I may have otherwise avoided. It also helped me get involved in helping with training at my job."

Daynia La-Force - Week 14
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Daynia has coached collegiate basketball for 23 years and spent 14 years as a head coach between the University of New Haven, Northeastern University, and the University of Rhode Island. She is currently enjoying her time as an advanced scout for the Connecticut Sun WNBA. Daynia has also been honored as a GSSNE Leading Woman of Distinction and was an Honorary GSSNE Cookie Chair!

We touched base with Daynia to hear about what makes Girl Scouting so special to her—we hope you enjoy this Q & A! Happy reading...

Q: What is your favorite memory from growing up as a Girl Scout?

A: "I was a Girl Scout in Brooklyn, NY in the 80’s. My favorite memory was the feeling of accomplishment after completing my badge work. It was a lot of hard work and the tasks were so interesting and different."

Q: How do you choose to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader) today?

A: "Being a Girl Scout has made me confident in everything I do. I am not afraid to take on new challenges whether it’s in my personal or professional life." 

Q: How do you think Girl Scouts inspired your career path? 

A: "I have always remained in a leadership role throughout my career coaching women’s basketball. I understand how impactful I am to the players I coach. I am careful with the way I treat them and the words I use to empower them. I encourage them to be strong leaders of tomorrow and to strive to reach their potential. These are all qualities I experienced growing up as a Girl Scout, and they are still important to me today."

Alexandria Murphy - Week 15
Alexander Murphy bio with picture
Stefanie Argus - Week 16
Stepahnie Argus Bio with Picture
Sarah Goss - Week 17
Sarah Gross Bio with Picture

     

As mentioned above, this year we celebrate our Centennial and we have some amazing events in the works!

On December 2, 1919, Girl Scouts of Rhode Island was chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA, and while times have changed and our world is very different than 100 years ago, we are proud to say that Girl Scouting in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and Pawcatuck, CT continues to provide girl-led leadership experiences supported by innovative programming and life-changing opportunities!

In honor of this milestone, GSSNE looks forward to hosting a multitude of special events and opportunities, some of which are already in the works:

  • Centennial Patch Program: October 2018 - December 2019:  Girl Scouts have the opportunity to work towards this patch and learn about Girl Scout history.
  • Time capsule burial at Camp Hoffman: May 2, 2019
  • Council-wide bridging ceremony at Lincoln Woods: May 4, 2019
  • Marching in the Bristol Fourth of July parade: July 4, 2019
  • Summer 2019, a collaboration with WaterFire Providence: Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing
  • Overnight camping experience at one of our local state parks: Weekend of July 13-14, 2019
  • Rededication ceremony and celebration at Slater Park: September 21, 2019

Whether you’ve been here for the entire journey, or you’re somewhat new to Girl Scouts, we hope you can join us in sharing and celebrating this centennial milestone! Thank you for supporting Girl Scouts now, and for another 100 years! 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR ALUM NETWORKS!

Join the GSSNE Alum Network Today!
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  • Whether you grew up in Girl Scouting, or simply dabbled, worked at a Girl Scout camp as a teen, or enjoy volunteering as an adult, we want to connect with YOU! Click HERE to join the GSSNE Alum Network!
  • In an effort to reconnect with our GSSNE Alum specifically, we have created a GSSNE Alums Facebook page. In order to encourage our alum to build the bonds of our history as Girl Scouts, please visit the GSSNE Alums Facebook page, like and share!
  • Additional benefits by becoming an Alum: Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Benefits Program click  HERE.  
  • Have a special story you want to share with us about your Girl Scouting experiences? Email us for an opportunity to be interviewed and featured in future GSSNE publications!
  • Girl Scouts of the USA and LinkedIn proudly debut their shared commitment to promoting girls’ and women’s empowerment, leadership, and advancement in the world! Join as we grow a connected community to advocate for girls and women, and unleash her G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ potential! Even if you weren’t a Girl Scout growing up, you’re still welcome and encouraged to promote the Girl Scout Network! And don't forget to follow our GSSNE LinkedIn Page too!
Camp Hoffman Alum

Camp Hoffman is one of the oldest Girl Scout camps in the entire country, and we're turning 100 years old on July 28, 2021! It's going to be an amazing anniversary celebration. We hope you'll join us at camp in summer 2021 to commemorate a century of adventure, leadership, and outdoor risk-taking! We'll share more information as soon as we've confirmed a date, but we can guarantee that there will be much magic, memory-making, singing, s'mores around the campfire, and fun on Larkin Pond.

Were you a past camper or staff member at either Hoffman or Green Forest? Click HERE to join our Camp Hoffman Alum group today and stay connected! 

Interested in helping us plan a fantastic event? Email us at customercare@gssne.org.

GSUSA Alum Page

Visit the official  GSUSA Alumnae Association Page and register as a Girl Scout Alumnae. Once you register you can send e-cards, share stories and become a member of the alumnae mailing list! Support the organization that brought you so much, giving you the foundation to build your life upon.