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Helpers Among Us — Girl Scout leader keeps program active

Winchester Girl Scouts with their troop master Elli Goeke on a trip to the Swiss Alps. COURTESY PHOTO/ELLI GOEKE

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Lots of kids in Winchester join Scouting organizations and the woman who runs the Girl Scout program in town is also the leader for the middle and high school Scout troops. 

Elli Goeke was a Girl Scout, including in your writer’s senior troop, and she even earned a Gold Award, the equivalent of the Boy Scout’s Eagle Award. 

“For me,” says Goeke, “Girl Scouts was a great way to be involved in the town and in outdoor events, and to try things I might not have a chance to do otherwise.” 

Winchester’s Girl Scouts on a trip to New York City. COURTESY PHOTO/ELLI GOEKE

She volunteered at the library, too, which not only fulfilled the volunteer requirement, but also gave her the chance to see what other people were reading. 

Today’s older Scouts volunteer to collect items for the Woburn Council of Social Concern and Cradles to Crayons. 

“We also do outdoor trail maintenance,” she says. 

Goeke says a girls-only environment has been shown to teach girls leadership skills and selling cookies and candies gives them marketing skills. 

“We’ve hiked to Appalachian Mountain Club huts, done tent camping, and taken great trips,” she says.

“Our Scouts sell home-baked goodies and coffee at Town Meeting,” Goeke adds.  “And we also sell the usual Girl Scout cookies, plus candies and magazines. We even sell Christmas wreaths, but only in West Medford so we’re not competing with Winchester Boy Scouts.” 

They also have document shredding events in the St. Eulalia’s parking lot, for which they hope for free-will donations. The next one will be on Saturday, May 4.

Elli Goeke and her Girl Scout troop take a hiking trip in New Hampshire. COURTESY PHOTO/ELLI GOEKE

The bake sales bring in about $150 and the cookie sales bring in $1.05 per package. With that money, the girls have helped pay for trips to the Swiss Alps, and are planning to go to Iceland in 2025 and Costa Rica in 2026. 

Thirty high-schoolers are in Goeke’s troop, and there are troops for younger girls, either town-wide or at some elementary schools.  With a chance to participate in every grade, the girls in Winchester can thank Goeke for making it possible. 

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