Youth

Girl Scouts announce cookie flavors for 2019

From GIRL SCOUTS OF WESTERN OHIO Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announce the return of the gluten-free Toffee-tastic® cookie, part of the 2019 Girl Scout Cookie® season lineup, in select areas. More than just delicious cookies, the Girl Scout Cookie Program® fuels girls’ development of entrepreneurial and essential life skills, and the cookie earnings power amazing experiences for girl members. The largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, the Girl Scout Cookie Program is proven to help the majority of girl participants develop five essential life and business skills, fostering the next generation of women who are entrepreneurs and business leaders. A recent Girl Scout Research Institute study found that 85 percent of girls surveyed learned how to set goals and meet deadlines, 88 percent became effective decision-makers, 88 percent learned to manage money, 85 percent gained people skills, and 94 percent learned business ethics—all through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Two out of three girls surveyed (66 percent) developed all five skills while doing amazing things for themselves and their communities. Each and every purchase of Girl Scout Cookies—100 percent of the net revenue, which stays local—is an investment in girls and their leadership capabilities, both now and in the future. And Girl Scouts in the Toledo area are able to do incredible things thanks to their cookie earnings, such as designing and distributing rain barrels that each collect and recycle over 730 gallons of water a year. “Learning what your customer base wants and needs from the product you offer is an important skill girls learn through the Girl Scout Cookie Program,” said Ashley Thoreen, product sales team lead for GSWO. “We’re excited about the return of the gluten-free Toffee-tastic cookie, because it gives our girls an option for customers with dietary restrictions. What better way to teach our girls how to be consumer experts than to provide products that meet their customers’ needs and expand their Cookie business?” “The Girl Scout Cookie Program plays a powerful role in developing financially savvy girl leaders,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl…

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Presentations to BG school board accentuate the positive

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Meeting for the last time of the school year, the Bowling Green Board of Education had a lot of students to recognize. A few will be among the 217 seniors who will graduate Sunday at 2 p.m., and others are in the early stages of their school careers. The recognition started, though, by recognizing four professional women who volunteer with the Girls Who code program. Jodi Anderson, secondary curriculum coordinator, said this was the club’s first year at the Middle School. It encourages girls to explore computer and other technology careers. Lexi Marshall, Sarah Beamer, Jami Sunday, and Laura Johns were honored for spending 90 minutes a week working with middle school students and being role models as women with careers in technology. Next up were the participants in the model UN introduced by Mary Kern, the club’s advisor. Members recognized were:  Hannah Bowlus, Kerica Bucks, Alison Cramer, Bob Walters, Matthew Fyfe, Jesse He, Dawson Wohler, Cameron Froemming, Eddy Becker, Elijah Poetzinger, and Dana Kleman. The team competed in three conferences, including sending eight members to Harvard for an international event. The team took the top prize at a Model UN event at Ohio Northern, and did very well in the concluding event at Ohio State University. Seventh Grade science teacher Paula Williams introduced four students who decided to activate their learning. Adam Brian, Jacob Baumgardner, Benjamin Bates, and Zachary Hartman were part of the class that went out to test water on the Portage River. Afterward, they wanted to do something to promote water quality. Jacob and Adam designed t-shirts to promote the issue. Ben and Zach decided, since plastic shopping bags are seen as a scourge on the environment, to design and sell reusable shopping bags with the school’s mascot on them. They even had them for sale at the meeting. Williams also presented seventh grader Emma Ferguson who created an award-winning billboard design in a contest sponsored by the county Solid Waste Management District. Her billboard urged people to be clean water superheroes. Seven students from…


Foster family opens home and hearts to 19 children

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some parents dream of becoming empty nesters. Quiet dinners, no pediatrician appointments, less hectic households. But Chris and Melanie Feather, of Grand Rapids, felt something was missing when their four boys grew up and moved on. So they took a bold step – bigger than buying an RV or a warm weather winter retreat – they became foster parents. “We had empty rooms,” Melanie said. “We really felt that was something we needed to do.” That was seven years and 19 children ago. “I love kids. I could probably do this forever,” Melanie said, giving a sideways glance at Chris to check his reaction. It took a few seconds, but then her husband’s straight face broke into a big silly grin. The couple, who was recently named Wood County Children Services Foster Parents of the Year, has taken in children ranging from newborns to 17-year-olds. So they now have four adult children, one adopted, plus six biological grandchildren, and “a lot of honorary” grandchildren. “I always think there’s somebody else out there who needs us,” Chris said. “There are a lot of kids who need love,” Melanie said. “They come in as strangers and leave as family.” “Or they don’t leave,” Chris said, referring to all the kids that stay in contact with the Feather family. “It makes my heart happy,” Melanie said, smiling. The Feathers readily admit the job of foster parenting isn’t easy. It ranges from fun and a blessing, to frustrating and nearly maddening – and that can be all in one day. But they try to stay focused on the goal. They are in this to get kids through rough patches in their lives that are no fault of their own. Some children don’t want to be removed from their families, no matter how bad that environment might be. “Some of the kids are mad they are in foster care,” Melanie said. She and Chris explain to the children that they realize they aren’t their parents. “But we’ll be their mom and dad…


Students stand up against guns and for decent housing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Inspired by students across the nation, and empowered by their efforts in this community, six students took to the podium at Bowling Green City Council Monday evening. They were seeking two basic rights – decent affordable housing, and no gun violence in their schools. Aidan Hubbell-Staeble asked City Council to use its power to push the state legislature to pass legislation on guns – something that would provide real tangible solutions to stop gun violence in schools. “Enough is enough,” he said. One by one, the other students – Carlie Pritt, Zach Davis, Hannah Barnes, Connor Froelich and Alyson Baker – stood at the podium and read aloud the names of students killed by guns in schools, starting with those at Columbine. They ended with the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, then told City Council they would return at the next meeting to continue with the names of students killed since Newtown. “The students of Bowling Green High School and Bowling Green State University will continue to fight for this issue until we see change,” said Alyson Baker. Baker was one of the organizers of the local walkout in honor of the Parkland victims. More than 300 high school and middle school students joined the walkout. Council member Bruce Jeffers explained that the city is limited in any action it can take on firearms. “It’s pretty hard to sit and listen to all those people gone under those circumstances,” Jeffers said of the victims’ names read aloud. Council member Sandy Rowland praised the students for becoming part of the governmental process. She stressed that gun violence is not a political issue, but a life or death issue. “Thank you for coming out tonight and participating,” Rowland said to the students. Council member Daniel Gordon said the problem may be that local voices are not being heard at the state level. “They’re not quite listening to us,” he said. “I would like to think that our input matters.” Gordon also criticized those who have targeted the…


Festival of Shorts brings out the best in Horizon Youth Theatre

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Those who want to know what the Horizon Youth Theatre is all about need only make their way to the Otsego Elementary School this weekend. The youth troupe is staging its annual Festival of Shorts Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Everything is the work of the kids, 7-17. They wrote the scripts and act them out, and with one exception students are directing. This is where Horizon’s mission to educate young people in all aspects of theater shines. The goal, said Cassie Greenlee, artistic director of the troupe, is for students to learn “about every step of what’s required to put on theatre.” “What I love about this year is that for the first time every single thing was created by students. That’s really impressive and something that I’m really proud of. It’s more for them to hang their hats on.” The program includes six plays, four written by students and the fifth created collaboratively by youngsters in the Devising Class taught by Keith Guion, who directs. Four of the plays will be staged during each performance. Admission is free, but donations are requested. Scarlet Frishman, a 17-year-old junior from the Toledo School for the Arts, and Terra Sloane, a 15-year-old freshman from Bowling Green High, are among the student directors. This is Frishman’s third time directing. “I wanted to direct in the first place because of the biggest influence in my life outside of my immediate family has been Cassie Greenlee.” They first worked together in 2009, when both were new to the company. “Who I am as a person is completely different because of who she is,” Frishman said, “and I really want to be that influence on another young person’s life because it was extremely valuable for me.” She’s set her sights on studying theatre at Yale University. Sloane has also directed before. “It helps me as an actor,” she said of directing. “I see so much more now because I’ve been a director. It helps me perform better.” She’s…


Youth learning to flex their First Amendment muscles

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As high school students across the nation are testing their rights as citizen activists, it turns out many area students know little about their First Amendment rights. Nancy Patterson, a professor of education in the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University, has been studying student awareness of the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, to assemble, and to petition the government. Her study, titled “But I Wanna Say What I Wanna Say,” examined student and teacher perceptions of their First Amendment Rights. Seven of 12 schools accepted Patterson’s request to interview students and staff. So far, she has talked with 125 students and nine teachers. The study came at an interesting time – with Parkland, Florida, students flexing their First Amendment muscles and students across the country following suit. “What better way to honor Martin Luther King,” on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, Patterson said. The study revealed a troubling lack of time spent teaching students about being engaged citizens, she said. “I’m worried about the time in the curriculum for citizen skills,” Patterson said. That deficiency is not unexpected since standardized testing no longer allows teachers to address topics that aren’t preparing students for specific testing areas. Civil discourse is not on that list. “Not tested, not taught,” Patterson said. “We don’t have room in the curriculum.” While students may feel limitless freedom on their electronic devices, many know little about their full First Amendment rights beyond social media. But many of them have been affected by those issues – when taking a knee during the national anthem, or when voicing opinions on social media. “Students are really very interested in this topic,” Patterson said, listing off U.S. Supreme Court rulings on student speech about political issues, sexual innuendo, and school newspapers. Students in advanced placement classes tended to be much more aware of their rights. Others, at least, were interested. “I saw lot of light bulbs,” Patterson said. “Very many of them didn’t know they had First Amendment rights,”…


Country singer shares her bullying story at BGMS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At age 5, Jessie Chris loved being on stage – even if that stage was a restaurant with just two patrons at the time. “I would literally perform anywhere that would have me,” Chris said. Then at age 10, Chris was given a guitar for her birthday, and started listening to country music stars Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. “I realized that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. But country music didn’t exactly fit in with her Massachusetts school. “I struggled a lot in school with bullying because of it,” Chris said as she shared her anti-bullying message with Bowling Green Middle School students on Tuesday morning. Her message: Bullying is surmountable by the victims, and stoppable by the aggressors. The messenger in this case is not that far removed from her audience – being just 20 years old, still dotting the “I”s in her name with hearts, and asking all the students to join her in a giant selfie. Shortly after getting her guitar, Chris said her bullying began. Her classmates would tell her that only boys can play guitars, that she would never be good enough, and never be pretty enough to succeed. “It kind of crushed my spirit,” she told the 750 students from BGMS. “I heard this every single day from my classmates.” The bullying was more than verbal. “I would get body-checked against the lockers at school,” Chris said. And after school, the bullying on social media took over. “I felt like I was always being targeted just for being a little different,” she said. “I was afraid of my classmates.” Chris also became afraid of performing. So she buried herself in her music, which became her coping mechanism. Writing songs became her diary of the bullying she encountered. “I channeled that anger to my music,” she said. “It was my way of having a voice.” Chris was hoping for a fresh start in high school, but found that the rumors about her followed her…