This past Monday local residents gathered at the Walden Municipal Building for the annual Walden Woman’s Club (WWC) Youth Community Service Award Ceremony.
Many young volunteers were honored, including Girl Scout troops, Josephine-Louise Public Library volunteers, and those who helped with the Town of Montgomery Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) 2022 project. Town of Montgomery Historian Mary Ellen Matise led the event.
“It’s a way for us to thank our young people for what they do, to recognize them, and also to encourage them to do more,” said Matise.
The troops honored were Troop 238: Chloe Morris, Fiona Chivattoni, Kayleigh Morris, Lillian Dowdy, Annalise Geissler, Katie Jane Burke, Presley Pratt and Natalie Veach; Troop 724: Keria Cichon, Emma Donvan, Olivia Wirth, Aaliyah Hill, Aria Gonzalez, Kya Bush, Krista-Anne Esposito, Neliel Vargas, Hayley Cavellero and Gianna Wensing, and Troop 285: Madisyn Rivera and Adriana Almodovar.
The library volunteers honored included Kiernan McCormick, Ramello Simmons and Elizabeth Fan. CAC project awards were given to Leah Restivo, Isabella Bragaglia, Aliyah Pabey, Thomas Knight, Daylen Fernandez and Emily Gunter.
Volunteers received distinguished service award certificates from the hands of County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis, who represents the Town of Montgomery, Village of Walden, and the Town of Newburgh. Mayor John Ramos, Montgomery councilwoman Cindy Voss and other local officials were also in attendance.
Throughout 2022, many young volunteers aided in the CAC project, which included planting and weeding the CAC Community Garden at Benedict Farm Park in Montgomery. CAC chairwoman Patricia Henighan stated they got the high school to participate this year. Matise gave history on the garden project as a whole. “1910 was that first full year of the operation of the club, and in the spring of 1910 they were going to do a garden club with the children that were in elementary school which is still there. We relate to this now because there was an epidemic of fever [so] the school closed and they never did a garden club that year,” said Matise.
Similar to 2020, the garden club was collecting seeds and preparing to start the project, but because of COVID, kids could not congregate and it didn’t happen.
Ranaye Corley, service unit manager for the Maryland Wiles 215 troop, discussed some of the things the attending high-school girl scouts have done in 2022. “We were low on cookie orders and she found the grant to get us cookie orders. It was so amazing. We had 800 boxes of cookies and guess what; COVID hit, but she found a creative way to get rid of all the cookies,” said Corley.
Director of the Josephine-Louise Public Library Ginny Neidermier explained that there are many ways to volunteer at the library, as it is vital for it to remain open. “My feeling is that the library is there to say yes,” said Neidermier. Anyone can go to the library to volunteer.
Anagnostakis also had a few words and especially focused on the past and future of women since the WWC hosted the event. “50 percent of the population are men [and] 50 percent of the population are women, but even today, less than 25% of Congress and Senate are women,” said Anagnostakis.
Mayor Ramos also gave some insight into their choice to have the ceremony on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “This is a holiday where a gentleman that was the epitome of giving, Dr. Martin Luther King, had spread his knowledge and gave his life for the lives of many people here in this country. He changed the complexion of our society and this is why we celebrate today,” said Ramos.
Matise also presented some checks to different community groups, explaining a bit about the women’s club and what they do. “It’s a token of appreciation for people in the community who are providing services. We (WWC) support other organizations that are providing primary service like Girl Scouts,” said Matise. “Students are rewarded with recognition and the organization is rewarded with a small monetary contribution.”
The checks were given to the Historical Society of Walden and the Wallkill Valley, the Josephine-Louise Public Library and the CAC.