Tag Archive | "Girl Scouts"

Sunday Is Race Day

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Tristan Remkus and Sage Witty facing off during last year's race. Photo by Michael Heller.

Tristan Remkus and Sage Witty facing off during last year’s race. Photo by Michael Heller.

A bit of Americana returns to Sag Harbor this Sunday for the the third annual running of the Soap Box Derby. The festivities begin at 1 p.m. with a parade down Main Street,  with the Derby King and Queen and the competitors homemade—and often stylishly customized—racecars on display.

From Main Street, the parade makes its way to High Street for the opening ceremonies and races themselves.

This year’s derby is dedicated to the memory of Ralph J. Ficorelli Sr., the former chaplain and two-term commander of Sag Harbor’s Chelberg-Battle American Legion Post 388. The Sag Harbor native and veteran of the United States Army died in April.

More than 40 racers, most in the Mustangs division, made up of younger scouts driving cars made from uniform kits and with a weigh limit of 150 pounds, are expected to compete. Another 13 drivers have signed up for the Thunder Road division, which is for older kids who want more of a say in their designs.

The derby was resurrected by Laurie Barone Schaefer, a Sag Harbor Cub Scout leader, who was inspired to bring back the tradition afer seeing old photos from a race day in the 1950s.

Cars are impounded Saturday afternoon before the big race, and a team of judges, led this year by Sag Harbor Mayor-elect Sandra Schroeder, will judge them for a number of special awards that will be announced on Sunday.

Screening of “Girl Rising”

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By Genevieve Kotz

Sag Harbor Girl Scout Troop 413 will screen the film “Girl Rising” at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre on Friday, June 13, at 3:30 p.m.

Directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, “Girl Rising” tells the stories of nine girls from around the world and the barriers they overcome to receive an education. Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and others narrate the 2013 film.

Girl Rising is also a global movement based on the film, which promotes investing in girls and their education with the idea that educating a girl can break a cycle of poverty in just one generation.

Following the film, there will be a moderated discussion led by educator Lea Abrams. Ms. Abrams, who has taught at the Sag Harbor Elementary School and the Ross School, is now a teacher at the Spence School in New York City.

There is a suggested $5 donation and the film is recommended for ages 12 and up. All proceeds will go to the Girl Rising Fund. For more information on the movie, visit www.girlrising.com.

Scout Soap Box Derby Returns to Sag Harbor

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Sage Witty works on this year’s soapbox car with brother Aris. Photo courtesy Witty Family.


By Mara Certic

High Street will be closed to all motorized traffic for a few hours on Sunday, June 8, to accommodate Sag Harbor’s favorite high-speed car race—the second annual Scout Soap Box Derby.

Over 40 girl, boy and cub scouts, ranging in age from 7 to 17, will take to the streets to race soapbox cars that they have spent hours designing, assembling and painting with help from their friends and families.

Cub Scout leader and Wolf Den mother Laurie Barone-Schaefer resurrected the 80-year-old tradition last year, in an effort to get children off the couch and into the great outdoors. “We need to get these kids back to basics,” she said. “Not driving virtual cars, we need them in those cars and experiencing it first hand.”

Second-grader and first-time racer Ryder Esposito will take to the streets in his brand new American flag car on Sunday. “My Dad, Mom and sister helped me build it,” he said. “We all thought of ideas. It’s red with blue stripes and white stars; it looks awesome!”

“I’m most excited to race my car down the hill at the derby,” he said. “I’m excited to show my friends and see their cars too!”

Last year’s runner-up Bryona Hayes will don her racer’s helmet again this weekend. The 9-year-old has decided to revamp last year’s car, changing it from a black with the name of her sponsor, “East End Fuel,” to a white car with sparkles.

She really enjoyed last year’s race, she said, and added that she “went pretty fast.” She has no real change in strategy this Sunday, she said, and will stick with her tried and tested tactics that won her a second-place trophy: “I’m just going to keep leaning forward,” she said.

Although the race begins on Sunday afternoon, the event really starts on Saturday when the cars will all be impounded at the Sag Harbor Elementary School, and a panel of judges will then determine the winners of six secondary prizes who will be awarded plaques after the races on Sunday, along with the first, second and third places trophies for two weight divisions.

On Saturday evening, scouts of all ages will convene at Long Beach for an informal gathering “to enjoy downtime together before the big race,” Ms. Barone-Schaefer said. Marshmallows will be roasted on the beach as the King and Queen of the Soap Box Derby are announced.

This year, the winners of an essay contest, entitled “What Scouting Means To Me” will be donned with crowns and sashes and honored during the parade down Main Street directly preceding the race.

The parade, which will begin on Main Street at 1 p.m., will include the fire department, local vintage cars and memories of friends past. This year’s event is dedicated in memory and honor of Katy Stewart, whose brother, Robert, will be competing in Sunday’s race. Katy’s Courage will have a pink beetle bug car in the parade and Katy’s friends will be walking along side it and throwing candy to the crowd. Last year’s derby was dedicated to Jordan Haerter, who was a member of troop 455 himself.

After the parade, the speed-racers will make their way down to High Street, whose residents they presented with preemptive thank you letters and coupons for hot dogs, snacks and drinks on Tuesday.

“We need them to get to know the people in our community,” said Ms. Barone-Schaefer. “And through this process, they’re meeting all these people. They would not usually have that opportunity otherwise.”

The children, she explained, met village officials when they accompanied her to a Sag Harbor Village Board meeting in March to seek approval for this year’s event.

“They know Chief Fabiano, where they wave and say hi to him when they see him on the street, they know Rusty from WLNG,” she added.

“It’s just a really fun day. It’s a day of community, a day of family and a day of old-fashioned fun.”

The Sag Harbor Scout Soap Box Derby will take place on High Street on Sunday, immediately following a 1 p.m. parade down Main Street. For more information visit sagharborderby.com

Girl Scouts Learn to “Fight to Survive” at Sag Harbor Self-Defense Workshop

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Cecilia Blowe practices her palm-strikes as Sensei Michelle Del Giorno supervises at a self-defense workshop organized by Girl Scout Troop 1480 and co-hosted by The Retreat and Epic Martial Arts in Sag Harbor on February 25. Photo by Michael Heller.

Girl Scout Cecilia Blowe practices her palm-strikes as Sensei Michelle Del Giorno looks on at a self-defense workshop organized by Girl Scout Troop 1480 and co-hosted by The Retreat and Epic Martial Arts in Sag Harbor on February 25. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, about one-fifth of high school girls report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average, according to the Department of Justice.

With those statistics in mind, Senior Girl Scout Troop 1480 of Sag Harbor organized a workshop to educate themselves on self-defense methods and raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women. “There’s so many unexpected things that can happen and the rate is really high,” said Ariana Moustakas, a 15-year-old from Sag Harbor.

On Tuesday, 15 girls from East Hampton and Southampton attended a class at Epic Martial Arts in Sag Harbor, an event sponsored by the troop. Troop leader Diane Bucking asked Sensei Michelle Del Giorno to lead the workshop, and Ms. Del Giorno enlisted the aid of The Retreat, asking participants to give a suggested donation for the East Hampton center for victims of domestic violence. Telling the girls “silence breeds violence,” Helen Atkinson-Barnes of The Retreat was on hand Tuesday with information and resources.

The idea stemmed from “Girlstopia,” a book Girl Scouts use to envision community service projects and take “a leadership journey toward an ideal world for girls.” According to “Girlstopia,” violence causes more death and disability worldwide among women ages five to 44 than war, cancer, malaria or traffic accidents.

“I realized that I’ve got two high school girls who live in a very small town and they’re going to be going off to college and need to have a few skills to keep themselves safe,” said Ms. Bucking.

“You never know what to expect when you’re out of East Hampton and you’re at a new college, so knowing self-defense mechanisms is really helpful,” agreed Laura Field, a 17-year-old senior at East Hampton High School who attended the workshop.

“You could be walking down the street and you could get attacked,” added Ariana. “You think it’s not going to happen, but it could happen to you and you need to know what to do.”

Sensei Del Giorno started the workshop by telling the girls self-defense has many forms, such as putting your seatbelt on and eating healthy. “But right now,” she said, “we’re going to focus on physical self-defense, safety and awareness and really being out there and being focused in the world, paying attention.”

Telling the girls no one can protect yourself as well as you can, Sensei Del Giorno said you must be aware and suspicious at all times. She said to walk with confidence with your head up, looking others in the eye. “If you feel in danger, if you feel threatened, you use your voice and you put your hands up,” she said.

“I think it’s good for all these girls to be aware of their surroundings, the dangers that are out there, and be prepared to address them if they have to. They have to be confident,” said Linda Blowe, a troop leader whose 16-year-old daughter, Cecilia, attended the workshop.

When confidence and awareness fail to deter an attacker, however, the physical fight must kick in.

Sensei Del Giorno told girls to trust their gut instinct. “If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If the guy looks like a creep, he probably is,” she said. “If you think it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Get out.”

“None of this working?” Sensei Del Giorno asked the girls. “Good. Then you know what you have to do. You have to jam your fingernails through his eyeballs and kick him here and kick his ass—’cause that’s what you need to do to survive,” she said, with “here” referring to the groin area.

“You have the value in you, you’re worth it, you have to fight to survive,” she said.