Susan Wood Ferone, 48 of SouthPark, joined the Girl Scouts organization with her daughter Morgan Elizabeth Ferone over 12 years ago. During that time, Morgan has been awarded the Hornets’ Nest Council Gold Award and will receive the Young Woman of Distinction (YWOD) honor this month. Keep reading to learn more about the Girl Scouts and how they have impacted the Ferone’s lives.
Q. When did you and Morgan get started with the Girl Scouts?
A. We attended a recruitment night at Beverly Woods Elem when Morgan was in first grade. She stayed with that troop for a year and then transferred to a troop at Carmel Presbyterian Church. The Carmel troop had several girls from Sharon Elementary where Morgan attended school, and Carmel Presbyterian Church is a strong, long-term supporter of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Q. Are your other children involved as well?
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A. My daughter Anna Ferone, age 13, is a Girl Scout Cadette in Troop 79. She has been a Scout since first grade. This spring she earned her GS Silver Award with her work with The Bruce Irons Camp Fund, a Charlotte-based organization that identifies CMS students and commits to sending them to summer camp for 4 consecutive summers and mentors throughout the year to champion their success.
Q. What is your role?
A. I am the Co-Leader of Cadette Troop 79 with my good friend Ann Masi. We are currently working individually with each of our Scouts to earn their Silver Award before they complete 8th grade. We just finished planning our new Scout year and have our first meeting this month to bring everyone back together.
Q. What have you learned by being a troop leader?
A. I have been a co-leader for over 12 years. I have learned a million things…tents without tarps underneath will be wet in the morning…that you don’t douse out the fire, you sprinkle it… never go on a hike without a water bottle and a songbook…that planning and more planning is the key to Scouts and all of life. Leading a troop is a collaborative effort between you and your co-leader, the scouts themselves, and their parents.
Q. What do you think the girls gained by participating in the Girl Scouts?
A. I think my girls have gained greater self-confidence. One moment they are rock climbing at Pilot Mountain, then they are cooking, serving and dining with our homeless neighbors at Room in the Inn and another time they are learning key project management skills as they complete Silver and Gold projects. Confidence is built one experience at a time.
Q. What role has Girl Scouts played in Morgan's life?
A. Morgan has been a Scout as far back as first grade and it has had an integral impact on her life. Her Scout friends still remain her closest friends. The successes and confidence she achieved with Girl Scouts helped her win the Alcoa Scholarship and the Colonel Robinson Merit Scholarship which cover her tuition at UNC Chapel Hill. Her early camping days with Girls Scouts led to a summer of rock climbing in the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS ) in the summer of 2014. Her early years making sandwiches for the homeless with her scout troop led to this summer working full-time at Urban Ministry of Charlotte.
Q. Tell us a little about the Hornets’ Nest Council Gold Award that she earned in 2013.
A. As an IB student at MPHS, Morgan concentrated her science studies in Physics. She joined the Physics Club and tutored other students. She started talking about how Physics is not explained in an interactive way to younger students and then began thinking about teaching Physics as her Gold Project.
In the early stages of a Gold Award, the Scout examines her passions and the community needs. She realized that the Freedom Schools serve CMS students all summer and are always looking for interesting experiences for their students in the afternoons. She worked with Mary Nell McPherson and her staff and wrote a curriculum of interesting Physics experiments designed to travel from one Freedom School site to the next. Once her curriculum was approved, she recruited a team of volunteers, trained them on the curriculum and then dispersed them to Freedom School sites. She turned our family dining room into “Physics Central.”
Q. Morgan will be receiving the Young Woman of Distinction (YWOD) honor this month…Tell us a little about this award and what she did to earn it?
A. This award is given to a Young Woman who displays character, courage and confidence.
The Hornets Nest Council reached out to Morgan in May of this year. They explained that she was being considered with other young women for the honor. They asked each honoree to submit their resume along with a short 3-5 minute video.
Morgan and her handy Apple laptop (high school graduation gift) put together a short video for the committee. She submitted the required materials and moved on with her summer. We knew from previous recipients that the YWOD award has previously been given to older girls so she had no reason to believe that she would be selected. But then GSHNC notified her in late July!
Q. Would you recommend the Girl Scouts to other parents, if so, what would you tell them?
A. Of course, I recommend Girl Scouts to all girls in our community! Girl Scouts provides a continuity in our daughters’ lives that is hard to match in the community. As our girls grow, their teachers change each year, their coaches change with the season, their teammates change as their skills evolve in sports or the arts but the Scout friends can journey with them from the security of elementary school to the craziness of high school. It is on this journey that we help our Scouts find their passion and help them take it as far as they want to go.
You can get more information about the Girl Scouts at https://www.hngirlscouts.org/.