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Washington County Girl Scout goes to national convention

'It's not just selling cookies and making crafts'

April 02, 2012|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • Jennifer Shepheard, 15, of Hagerstown attended the 52nd National Girl Scout Convention last November in Houston, Texas.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

When Jennifer Shepheard was selected as a delegate to the 52nd National Girl Scout Convention in Houston last November, she didn’t realize what was in store for her.

One of the biggest surprises was her celebrity as a member of the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC). The connection to Washington, D.C., drew requests for autographs from other girls.

The North Hagerstown High School sophomore, who is 15, said she was the youngest member of the GSCNC, which represents 65,000 Girl Scouts, to attend the convention. The others, including four other delegates and five alternate delegates, were a diverse group of high school juniors and seniors.

Jennifer said the selection process for board or delegate positions for national convention, which is held every three years, is “very competitive” for GSCNC. She said she was nervous after seeing the other Scouts in vests that were completely covered with badges and activity patches.

As she heard the other girls talk about all the things they did in and out of Scouts, Jennifer prepared herself for a rejection letter. Instead, she was the only person chosen from District E, the Shenandoah Region.

She said being from a more rural area and advocating for more program opportunities and getting teen program information to all Scouts in the council gave her a different perspective from other candidates. 

Jennifer answered questions about what she had done in the past, what she wanted to do with her life and how she has benefited from Girl Scouts. She is quick to share that she’s had leadership and community service opportunities, as well as potential scholarships from her Scouting experience.

“It’s not just selling cookies and making crafts,” she said.

At the convention, in addition to voting on three proposals, Jennifer got to attend the Girl Scout Leadership Institute.

She also had free and scheduled social time and collected “swaps,” small souvenir items each council brought to share with the 1,500 Scouts there. She also got to meet Katie Couric, a convention speaker who was a Scout with GSCNC.

She returned home from the convention with a new resolve and another goal — to be selected as a Young Woman of Distinction, one the top 10 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients in the nation for the past three years.

Jennifer started as a Daisy in kindergarten and is now one of the oldest Scouts in Troop 40052, which meets at Western Maryland Hospital Center.

Jennifer takes and teaches dance classes at Ballet and All That Jazz, enjoys art on her own, and plays oboe and handbells and sings in the choir at the family’s church, Otterbein United Methodist.

Jennifer, the oldest of William and Andrea Shepheard’s three children, will be in the International Baccalaureate Art program at North High next year and would like to have a double major in art and human biology in college.

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