If it weren’t for Angela D’Antonio, there wouldn’t be Girl Scouts in Union, Baker and Wallowa counties. That is what most people who are part of D’Antonio’s service unit will tell you. Her fellow leaders said she is organized and keeps the troops going strong. She has been locally recognized for her work, and Tuesday night she was honored at the national level by the Girl Scouts of America with an Appreciation Pin for her service and dedication to her community.
“It’s really nice to be recognized,” D’Antonio said. “I put a lot of time into Girl Scouts so it’s nice to be seen.”
D’Antonio has been working with her service unit for seven years, leading her
La Grande troop, Troop 50145, and helping with the seven other troops across the three-county unit. She organizes events and activities, manages and maintains regulations set out by the Girl Scouts organization and supports her fellow troop leaders in getting information to their girls.
When she first took over the leadership role at the service unit, D’Antonio did it so that her two daughters could have a strong troop and the community it provides. She said she saw a need in how the local Girl Scout organization was being run and wanted to help fix it so that her daughters and the girls in the troop could continue to grow through Girl Scouts.
“I just really enjoy being with the girls, providing opportunities and finding things people in La Grande might not think about,” D’Antonio said.
Some of these activities include indoor skydiving, trips across the nation and camping trips. These are in addition to the meetings held that teach girls leadership and life skills. D’Antonio said that troops can be different from one to the next, but in her troop she allows the girls to take the lead and find their passions and interests, while also working to help their community. D’Antonio’s troop is made up of eight middle school aged girls, but she helps all of the other troops in the area. D’Antonio was honored for how she supports and helps all the troops in her area participate in these opportunities.
“Angela does everything,” her co-leader, Krisandra Kellogg, said. “She turned around Girl Scouts in the community.”
According to D’Antonio, when her daughters joined the local Girl Scouts, there wasn’t much parent participation and the troops were fizzling out. Thanks to her dedication to keeping Girl Scouts alive, there are now more than 100 girls from kindergarten to 12th grade participating in the organization in the three-county service unit area.
“She got more girls in here, and she got it organized,” Kellogg said.
According to D’Antonio, they could have more girls if the get more adult volunteers. There are currently five leadership roles filled in the service unit, and around 20 parents who are actively involved with the troops.
In May, D’Antonio was given the Guiding Star award, recognizing her service to the local community. Kellogg also nominated D’Antonio for the national Appreciation Pin award, which according to GSUSA means that she is a registered Girl Scout adult volunteer who has shown “exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. This service, which has had a measurable impact on one geographic area of service, helps reach and surpass the mission-delivery goals of the area.”
D’Antonio was presented the award by La Grande Mayor Steve Clements at the service unit’s November meeting.
“Any opportunity for young people to have fun, to learn new things and to engage with other kids and adults is invaluable to them developing as people. Those opportunities keep them connected with the community, and that is critical if you want to have a really solid community,” Clements said as he presented the award.
A cadette in D’Antonio’s troop, Miri Kaltov, a sixth grader of La Grande, said that being part of Girl Scouts has allowed her to make new friends and do fun things, like trips to the zoo and a possible trip to Scotland the troop is hoping to take next year. When asked about her leader winning the award, Kaltov said she is grateful to have D’Antonio as a leader because she is so organized and it means they get to do new and exciting things.