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A statue for future scouts

Malverne teen hopes to erect Girl Scout monument in Washington

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Three years ago, Malvernite Allison Boccio and Girl Scout Troop 1612 took a field trip to Washington, D.C., to see the nation’s legendary monuments. Amazed by the structures, Allison and her sister scouts saw the Boy Scout Memorial on the Ellipse, but couldn’t help noticing that there was no monument to the Girl Scouts.

Now 15, Allison said that trip inspired her current goal, which was to raise funds for such a monument. Her idea, which was her Gold Award project, is to raise enough money to create a bronze statue similar to that of the Boy Scouts, this one depicting the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, holding a young scout’s hand.

“We didn’t find it fair that there wasn’t a Girl Scout monument,” Allison recalled. “So I thought it would be a good thing for other Girl Scouts to see someone representing them.”

She started working on her project earlier this year, and got preliminary approval for it from the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. She was assigned a mentor, GSNC volunteer Joan Carter, and a project adviser, John Clement, a Brooklyn-based sculptor. Allison also received support from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep Kathleen Rice.

In order for her project to get final approval, she had to pitch her idea to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Scouting’s governing body emailed her information on the 24-step process of getting a memorial erected on National Park Service property in Washington. She responded with her ideas for completing each step, but Girl Scouts of the USA rejected her project in August.

Her mother, Joy Boccio, who is a co-troop leader of Troop 1612, said the Girl Scouts did not support it because they have bigger projects on their agenda. She added that several other scouts had proposed the idea in the past.

“The Girl Scouts of the USA have thought about doing this themselves, so clearly they know that there’s a need for this,” Joy said. “I just thought that now this would be a prime opportunity.”

A former scout and a troop leader for 17 years, Joy said that a monument would add to the strides the Girl Scouts have made since their founding in 1912. “I think having a national monument in Washington, D.C., solidifies an organization as important to the history of our nation,” Joy said. “There’s so many things that are inspiring in D.C., but a monument to recognize the Girl Scouts would fit perfectly with the others.”

Allison’s older sister, Laura, who was a member of Girl Scout Troop 1337 in Garden City, took the same trip to Washington in 2010. She, too, was perplexed to see that there was no Girl Scout monument. Now a senior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, Laura started a petition last week to spread awareness of the need of a Girl Scout monument.

“It hasn’t gotten as much traction as I would have liked so far,” she said, “but it’s just a step for people to understand the issue and the progress that’s happened so far.”

Laura explained that the main focus of any Girl Scout project is to produce a sustainable project. She said she believed there was nothing more sustainable than a monument. “It’s there for generations and generations, and it always make an impact,” she said. “This is obviously a very large-scale project . . . I just hope that something does come of it.”

Allison said that she planned to set up a meeting with her mentor to discuss a new idea for her Gold Award project.

“I still want to get this monument done,” she said, “and I want people to be able to go see it, and realize that girls are doing so much, and that it would motivate others to do a project as big as that.”

“It’s still not fair that Boy Scouts have had this monument there for so many years and Girl Scouts still can’t get it in 2019,” she added. “Even if I don’t get this project done, I hope that someday someone does this project to represent Girl Scouts.”