The Chelsea Girl Scouts announced this week that they will be honoring former School Committeeman and World War II veteran Morrie Siegel at the 2nd Annual Memorial Day Parade down Broadway.
Eilene Cusick and Eileena Teixeira told the Record that the City’s various troops have been busy planning for the parade – which they started last year and found great success. One tradition they’ve established is to honor a veteran from Chelsea, and this year Siegel will be honored as the Parade Marshal.
“Last year felt so good for all of us,” said Cusick. “We’re doing a lot of planning with the girls and planning for it to be really simple like last year. We’re not over thinking it. Anyone who wants to march can come out. We have little flags they can use. Last year, we were blown away by the response to the parade and part of the success was that it was simple. Our hope is that it eventually outgrows the root we’ve started.”
The parade starts at Welch’s Funeral Home at 713 Broadway around 8:15 a.m. on May 27th and proceeds to City Hall where the annual Memorial Day Exercises will take place. The march, scout leaders say, is purely to enhance the City’s ceremony and to bring out more veterans and residents.
Veterans can walk, or ride in decorated cars in the parade. The Girl Scouts are also asking for donations to help defray parade costs. Most importantly, they are hoping that the community will come.
Cusick and Teixeira, nevertheless, said that the parade is only a piece of the larger story about how Girl Scouting continues to grow in Chelsea by leaps and bounds every year.
They reported that, while only a short time ago there were only a few girls in one troop, there are now more than 110 girls in eight active troops with 28 volunteer adult leaders.
The Chelsea Public Library, Chelsea Community Schools, and the Early Learning Center have all given space in which to hold troop meetings, and Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts has run Girl Scout Programs at the ELC and Chelsea Boys and Girls Club, which are not troops but do offer the girl scout experience to more of the girls.
“This year we have become more visible in Chelsea, with a focus on fun and community service,” said Cusick. “There are a lot of well-established organizations making Chelsea a better place to live and we are building relationships with many of them. Girl Scouts helped out at this year’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day Celebration. State Rep. Gene O’Flaherty invited a group to the State House, where the girls got to eat pizza in the member’s lunchroom as well as tour the House chambers. We held a breast cancer awareness evening during which the girls met a representative from the Susan G. Komen foundation and made pins, pillows, and inspirational cards for breast cancer survivors. We regularly visit the Prospect Hill Senior Living Center to sing and do crafts with the residents.”
They added that the Girl Scout troops have established relationships with the Zonta Club, the Chelsea Kiwanis and are working on vegetable plots with the Chelsea Community Gardeners.
“Girls from different backgrounds, who may not be in the same grades or classes in school, have made strong friendships and formed a type of sisterhood,” said Teixeira. “Older girls mentor the younger ones. They see the positive results from working together, and learn to be leaders themselves. Adult leaders take their roles seriously. We set a tone, we guide the girls, and then, as much as possible, we try to get out of the way so that the girls can take ownership of activities and develop their leadership skills.”
Anyone who would like more information on how to participate in the parade or make donations should contact: Chelseagirlscouts@gmail.com. The Girl Scouts are also always looking for new members and new adult volunteers. Anyone with any interest should contact the Scouts at the e-mail above.