http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/11/11/winter-wonderland-is-a-golden-project


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - November 11, 2011

Winter Wonderland is a golden project

Girl Scout carries on party tradition for kids in need

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

A Winter Wonderful is returning to Main Street to put smiles on faces that may not always have a reason to smile.

Pleasanton Girl Scout Alison Boswell is sponsoring the holiday event at the Veterans Memorial Building next month for kids in need, to earn her Gold Award. Alison said she was inspired when she helped out last year at the party put together by Girl Scout Claire Williams.

"Last year's event was truly wonderful," Alison said in an email. "The number of happy faces just made my day."

She decided it would be a "fun challenge" to organize another Winter Wonderland, plus she wanted to help children in need.

"Initially I was planning a disability awareness workshop," said Alison, who has ataxia, which makes it difficult to control her muscles. "But I accomplished that last year as just a personal project. ... So many people have supported me over the years so I wanted to give back."

Alison, a junior at Amador Valley High, will give the party for more than 100 children whose names were provided by a teacher at a Title I school. At the event, she will give them items to make their lives better -- such as warm coats and socks, school supplies and a food basket -- as well as fun gifts and stockings. She is also planning exciting activities for the kids to enjoy. Last year there was a cookie-decorating station.

As part of her project, Alison is running an "Adopt a Child" program to find people to give warm winter coats to the children, and she said the community has responded.

"Many of us have what we need, such as warm coats and socks, but others don't so it's nice to help out," she said. "Local businesses are helping me by having my new warm coat, backpacks and gift drop boxes displayed at their stores. Friends are passing the word around about my kids needing new warm coats, backpacks and school supplies."

The veterans are hosting the event at the Veterans Hall on Main Street, she said, and she has found others to assist her from the clubs at Amador.

"I'm in the process of recruiting at least 30 volunteers for the event to help with the set up, event and cleanup," she said last weekend.

"I will probably type up some instructions for the day of the event for the volunteers as well as email them in advance so they know what their job is and what we are trying to accomplish at each station/activity the children will enjoy," she said.

"I already have some Girl Scouts signed up to help," she added. "Maybe they will become inspired for their Gold Award like I was when I attended Claire Williams' event last year."

The Girl Scout Gold Award requires an 80-hour project that shows leadership, coordination and a dedication to bettering the community. Allison has been a Girl Scout for 10 years and has helped others with their projects.

"It has been an awesome group to be involved with," she said. "As an older Cadet Girl Scout I planned, organized, and executed an ecology workshop for 120 Brownies.That was my Silver Award Project."

"Looking back there were many stepping stones to help me grow and learn leadership skills," she continued. "Now I'm trying to use those skills to accomplish my Gold Award."

The Winter Wonderland Holiday Party will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10. Email Alison at GScoutAlison@gmail.com.

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