Scouts

Amherst Woman Honored as Girl Scout Volunteer of the Month


      AMHERST – With 148 Girl Scouts in 22 troops in the Amherst area, supported by 70 adult volunteers, the Girl Scout tradition runs strong. All those volunteers are appreciated and vital to the mission of Girl Scouts. Among those volunteers is Chiara Yates, leader of Troop 60262, named the Volunteer of the Month for November by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

       Yates, 48, of Amherst, brings a passion for seeing girls grow to her troop of 11 girls in grades 4-6, and does her best to give them a wide

image002_edited.jpg

Chiara Yates is A Girl Scout Troop leader

variety of experiences, including getting them outdoors.  “Chiara is a dedicated and creative leader who thinks outside the box, said Karen Werner, a volunteer support coordinator with the Girl Scout council.  “She was able to keep her troop super active during COVID. She is always on the lookout for new and challenging opportunities for her girls and is very willing to share ideas with our new leaders. This fall she is organizing a community service project and is very well organized in her approach. Her enthusiasm is contagious!”

image001_edited.jpg

Girl Scouts in Troop 60262 of Amherst hold up cards they created to go with the scarves they made for orphans in Ukraine. Chiara Yates is their troop leader and the November Volunteer of the Month for the Girl Scout council. (Courtesy photos)

      Amanda Powell, volunteer support specialist for the Girl Scout council agrees. “The troop is very active and involved in the community,” she said. “She also helps to volunteer with other troops that are in need of support. For example, if a leader steps down, she will assist with that troop until they are able to find a new leader!”

      This Girl Scout troop coordinates the Halloween candy collection in Amherst Village.  “We collect candies to give out to families in the village so that they don’t have to take the cost of it for the whole town,” she said. “So we’re coordinating that. We have to go out three times, actually. One to give out bags, and see who wants the candies, and give out the candies.”

      They also took on a quick service project to show support for the children orphaned in Ukraine by the war there, making scarves and cards.

“The scarf is just a way of showing that they’re in our thoughts.” Yates said. “It’s a small gift for kids in orphanage. And the girls all made cards with encouraging notes, like ‘You’re awesome,’ ‘You’re wonderful,’ to attach to the scarves.” 

image004_edited.jpg

Girl Scouts in Amherst and surrounding towns created fleece scarves and warm wishes to show the children orphaned by war in Ukraine support. 

      Community service has also extended to the animal world, with her two sixth-graders working to earn the Bronze Award, the honest honor given to Girl Scout Juniors in grades 4 and 5. The Girl Scouts prepared information on how to care for small animal and cat dental health, for the Animal Rescue League in Bedford, and made animal blankets and toys. 

       “Last year we sold (cookies), and we went winter camping at Camp Farnsworth, which was a little more expensive than our usual camp,” she said. “So they loved that. They love camping, or even overnighting anywhere.”

      Because Yates has been involved in Girl Scouting for years, she is eager to help new leaders learn the ropes and give them ideas, like running a powder puff derby – a toy car race.

       “I’ve been a cookie mom ever since my 15-year-old was in kindergarten,” she said. 

       “I enjoy spending time with the girls, and I enjoy watching my daughter,” she said. “Today she’s on a hike, and she told me, ‘Mom, I’m going on my own because I want to be independent!’ And I’m crushed because I’ve never been on Mount Monadnock, and that’s a good opportunity for me to climb it! But I appreciate that. And I appreciate that because I’m the troop leader, she always has me around. She can’t get rid of me! So this is her opportunity to do something on her own. I just like sharing what I know, just watching them grow up and explore.”

Yates is married with three children, and when she’s not volunteering for Girl Scouts, she teaches economics and continuing education at universities in Massachusetts. 

      Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is happy to honor Chiara Yates as its Volunteer of the Month for November.  

image006_edited.jpg

Girl Scout Troop 60262 loves to go camping, no matter the time of year. Last March they enjoyed an overnight at Camp Farnsworth, a Girl Scout camp in Thetford, Vermont.