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Huntington Girl Scouts query women officials for new patch program

Call it postelection Girl Power.

A who’s who of women elected officials gathered at Huntington Town Hall Tuesday night to participate in a program aimed at exposing girls to public service careers.

Dozens of Girl Scouts came to query the panel of women representing town, county, state and judicial offices about their careers, education and whether they ever got nervous about making a wrong choice on an important decision.

“Partnering with the Girl Scouts on this inaugural event was fantastic and much needed,” said outgoing Huntington Town Board member Tracey Edwards, host for the evening. “We need to mentor and inspire girls so they can pursue roles in government and politics.”

The event, a partnership of the town and Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, was held to introduce a new patch program by the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, Girls in Government, for girls to meet and ask questions of female elected officials, interact with them and learn about careers in public service. Girl Scouts earn patches, also known as badges, for undertaking various activities and learning about them or developing skills.

The panelist included State Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre [D-Lindenhurst], Suffolk County legislators Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), District Court Judge Patricia Grant-Flynn, Suffolk County Deputy Police Risco Mention-Lewis and others representing town boards, town clerks and receiver of taxes.

“We hope we’ll be able to offer the program in every town, but Huntington is the kick-off,” said Yvonne Grant, president and chief executive of Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. “It’s learning about what are the opportunities ahead for girls through the political process.”

Olivia Phillips, 10, a fifth-grader from Mastic-Shirley, said she learned something new and inspiring at the event.

“I didn’t realize there were so many girls in government, and we got to speak to them,” Olivia said. “I liked the tax receiver job where you did mathematics and make sure everything is right with your math.”

Shannon Manarino, who brought her daughter and niece, Alyssa Manarino and Grace Dadman, both 10, from Holtsville for the program, said it opened an area of opportunity that may not often be considered.

“It’s great for the girls to get the info now and prepare for their future,” Manarino said. “Hopefully it will give them a good path to follow and start thinking about opportunities and options they have either as an elected or unelected position.”

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