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‘Brownie dropout’ is Girl Scout honoree

From left, Girl Scouts of Nassau County Executive

From left, Girl Scouts of Nassau County Executive Director/CEO Donna Ceravola poses with honorees Cynthia Friedman, Cathleen Colvin and Virgin Atlantic Cargo representative Rita Sargiamo during the GSNC's annual luncheon at the Garden City Hotel. (Oct. 25, 2011) Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Oyster Bay’s Cathleen Colvin glowed as she received the Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s most prestigious honor -- a unique feat for a self-described “Brownie dropout.”

The group held its annual luncheon at the Garden City Hotel Tuesday and honored three community members whose work has made a significant difference for Girl Scouts. Colvin, 46, is the leader of Troop 39 in Oyster Bay, a group of eighth graders. She said as a child she was more of a tomboy and wasn’t interested in the “girlie” activities that her Brownie troop was offering.

“It was really the uniform that threw me,” Colvin said. When she was a Brownie, the uniform code required Scouts to wear dresses. That was a deal-breaker for Colvin but not for her daughter, Justine, who is now 13.

“Justine was really into dresses as a little girl, so I thought she’d enjoy it,” Colvin said.

When Colvin called to sign her daughter up she learned two things -- Girl Scouts no longer wore the traditional dresses, and Oyster Bay had a shortage of troop leaders. If she wanted Justine to participate, she’d have to start her own troop. She took on two girls from the area’s waiting list and recruited six more. Today, five of the original nine, including Justine, remain in the group.

Tuesday Colvin received the Juliette Low Award of Distinction for her work in the mentor program at Port Washington’s Pall Corporation. Colvin is an assistant general counsel at the filtration, separation and purification manufacturer, and she brings Scouts from all over Nassau County to learn about the company’s technology and network with women successful in business and science.

“I hope it really inspires the girls,” Colvin said. “For me it really cements my interest in continuing to work with the girls.”

Floral Park’s Cynthia Friedman received the Torch Bearer’s Award for a quarter-century of volunteer service. She has served as the acting chair of association volunteers, an event planner and a delegate chair to the Floral Park/Bellerose/Stewart Manor Girl Scouts Association.

U.K.-based Virgin Atlantic Cargo was given the “Making a Difference for the Youth of Long Island Award” for its corporate philanthropy. The organization raised nearly $1 million for children in need by collecting loose change left in seats and on the floors of its flights. Each year the airline also sponsors a local Scout who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford to participate.

Said Rita Sargiamo, a Virgin representative in attendance, “With the way the world is today, you want to have people there to help them [children] out.”

Above: From left, Girl Scouts of Nassau County Executive Director/CEO Donna Ceravola poses with honorees Cynthia Friedman, Cathleen Colvin and Virgin Atlantic Cargo representative Rita Sargiamo during the GSNC's annual luncheon at the Garden City Hotel.

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