Girl Scouts reach out to children of N.Y. victims

NEIGHBORS

September 27, 2001|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CLARKSVILLE resident Gail Timmick knew she had to do something to help the youngest victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy - the children who lost parents, loved ones and friends in the New York disaster.

Timmick, who is the Fulton Cluster Girl Scout Troop coordinator, oversees 12 Girl Scout troops with about 150 members. Two days after the tragedy, Timmick sent an e-mail to her leaders asking for suggestions of ways to help the children.

Leader Sharon Seipel answered the request with a frightening personal story. Her sister and brother in-law, Linda and Barry Iseley, who live north of New York City, in Westchester County, had offices in the World Trade Center. Their lives were spared that day because other obligations had kept them away from work.

Seipel reported that two children at her nephew's school lost both parents. At another nephew's preschool, one child lost a parent.

"The school district does not have one school without at least one child who has lost a parent," Seipel said, "and many schools have several."

Timmick believed that participating in an activity to reach out to these children might help the girls in her cluster heal from the tragic events. With only a few days' notice, almost 125 of the Girl Scouts came together Friday evening to make sympathy cards and friendship bracelets for the children in Westchester.

The evening began with a flag ceremony coordinated by Carol Zimmerman of Clarksville. Using a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol, the ceremony included members of each troop. Jackie Miller of Highland assisted with the ceremony.

The girls divided into two groups and made cards and red, white and blue friendship bracelets. Sheila Bishoff of Highland provided patriotic music for the girls and parents to listen to while they created their messages of sympathy. Timmick made stickers that were placed on each card that said in part: "Please accept this friendship bracelet as a token of sympathy, support and love. It is our hope that as you wear this bracelet, you will be reminded that you are not alone."

The girls added personal messages. "The messages they wrote were heartfelt and precious in their direct and simple expression of caring," Seipel said. "I saw many children write about those lost, with words such as, `We will miss you' or `You will always be remembered.' They felt good about themselves as Girl Scouts and fellow U.S. citizens when they left the event."

According to Seipel, mothers at Westchester County schools believed that the letters of support from other children would help those who were bereaved. The mothers gratefully agreed to distribute the cards and bracelets.

At the end of the evening, the Girl Scouts and their parents, led by Maria D'Amato and accompanied on piano by Lorri Yawney, sang "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America." Timmick and Zimmerman held up posters with the words to the songs that Timmick had lettered the night before.

"They sang so loud and so full of energy," Timmick said.

Jay Schueter, who had arrived to pick up his daughter, was struck by the Scouts' powerful rendition of the songs. "It was so loud, so clear," he said. "It was so moving."

At the conclusion of the event, Timmick told the girls, "What you girls did tonight was just awesome! We, hopefully, will be making a difference for someone, somewhere."

Dayton Daze

The seventh Dayton Daze Parade and Picnic will be held Oct. 7. Everyone is invited to participate in the festivities.

Participants should line up at noon at Rutherford Way and Ten Oaks Road. The parade will begin at 1 p.m. and end at Eden Valley, where the picnic will be held.

A Moon Bounce and cake walk will be available, and a clown will face-paint and tell stories. The River Hill High School Marching Band will anchor the parade.

Homecoming time

It's homecoming time. Glenelg High School will have a daylong homecoming celebration Saturday. The Glenelg Band Marching Unit will lead the festivities with a parade, followed by a football game against Howard High School at 2 p.m.

The homecoming dance will begin at 8 p.m.

Sky-gazing

Members of the Howard County Celestial Searchers will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Bushy Park Elementary art room for their first meeting of the 2001-2002 school year. The meeting was originally scheduled for Sept. 24.

Founder Joel Goodman says that even though the club was rained out and "clouded out" of the summer get-togethers, interest in the club has continued to grow over the past months.

"I believe this year will be our best yet with fun projects, interesting speakers and, hopefully, clear skies for bunches of sky-gazing," Goodman said.

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