Community briefs 8/29/19

Clay Today
Posted 8/28/19

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council presented 16 Gold Awards Aug. 22 in recognition of their remarkable dedication to improving their communities and the world.

Included in the list were: Rachael …

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Community briefs 8/29/19


3 Clay girls earn Gold Awards from Girl Scouts of Gateway Council

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council presented 16 Gold Awards Aug. 22 in recognition of their remarkable dedication to improving their communities and the world.

Included in the list were: Rachael Conomea and Abigail Floyd, both of Orange Park and Fleming Island’s Sara Kissane.

For their Gold Award projects, the Girl Scouts tackled numerous community issues including childhood obesity, mental health awareness, local and international poverty, childhood literacy, STEM career opportunities for girls, skin cancer prevention, nature conservation, wildlife conservation and water safety.

“Congratulations to our amazing Gold Award Girl Scouts on their outstanding efforts,” said Gateway Council CEO Mary Anne Jacobs. ““The Gold Award is the standout achievement of girls who develop meaningful, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities and the world. In the girl-only, girl-led environment of Girl Scouts, a young woman pursuing her Gold Award gains the experience and life skills – strategic thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, time management, and more – that set her apart on the way to making her world a better place.”

Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Gateway Council and its Gold Awards program, visit or contact TriciaRae Stancato at or (904) 421-3484.

Photo Caption: ELC volunteers Cathy Voss and Cheryl O’Kelly reading the book “Ten Apples Up on Top” by Dr. Seuss at a Dr. Seuss themed literacy program at OTB Kids in Orange Park.

Literacy, reading volunteers needed at Early Learning Coalition

ORANGE PARK – Do you have a passion for reading? Do you enjoy small children? Are you fun loving and animated? If so, volunteering for the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida is the opportunity for you.

The ELCNF is actively seeking volunteers for two of its literacy programs. The first is their volunteer reading program were volunteer readers read weekly in a local pre-school classroom to a group of children. The second is their literacy outreach program where volunteers assist in putting on themed literacy programs and help with literacy events. Volunteers can participate in both programs. Training is provided and background checks are required.

“We are so grateful for our volunteers,” said Joan Whitson, ELC’s Early Literacy Outreach Manager. “The staff has told me the children look forward to greeting the readers and they become an important part of their week. Studies show that the best opportunity to influence our children’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs. Reading to children sets the groundwork for their future ability to read and learn.” As part of the program readers are able to give their classroom a free book twice during the school year. Volunteers participating in the themed programs get a chance to read and act out stories as well as leading the children in a variety of learning and craft activities.

An informational volunteer orientation meeting will be held on Sept. 17th at the ELC office at 3620 Peoria Rd. in Orange Park at 1 pm.

To register for this session or for more information about volunteering contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at: or 904-342-2267 ext. 202.

Historical society offers essay contest for Clay students

ORANGE PARK – The Historical Society of Orange Park, in recognition of Veterans Day, is sponsoring its annual essay contest for students in Clay County. The purpose the contest is to give young people the opportunity to explain the importance of celebrating Veterans and Veterans Day. Students, using their own words and creativity, are invited to tell a personal story about how Veterans have made an impact in their life, neighborhood, or town. Essay materials can be found online at

Winning students will be recognized at the Nov. 11 Veterans Day observance ceremony at 11 a.m. held at the Veterans Memorial at Magnolia Cemetery, 1040 Kingsley Ave.

Their essays will be read as recognition of Veterans and the students.

Required paperwork for the contest is available on the website of the Historical Society of Orange Park, Odds of winning will be determined by the number of entries received. Essays will be measured for: Expression of the theme (50%) Content of writing (25%) and Creativity of writing (25%). Judges will be members of the Historical Society of Orange Park. The contest is divided into the following categories: grade level, word limit and topic. The contest includes: a 300-to-500-word essay on “What is Veterans Day” for students from fourth-sixth grade (with the winner earning $50); 400-700-word essay on “Why do veterans deserve our support, respect and understanding?” for seventh and eighth-grade students ($75); and, 500-1,000-word essay for ninth grade-through-12th, on “Why do you think it’s important to celebrate Veterans Day?” ($100).

All essay entries must be received by Sept. These can be sent via electronic submission using the email or mailed to: The Historical Society of Orange Park, P. O. Box 08, Orange Park, Florida, 32067. The grand prize winners will be notified by Oct. 28. Entries not meeting deadlines will be disqualified.

Day joins North Florida Land Trust as operations manager

North Florida Land Trust is pleased to announce that Genevieve Day has joined the organization as operations manager. This is a new position at the not-for-profit who added Day to the team to assist both the operations and development teams. Day will be responsible for a number of duties including managing office operations and assisting the operations director with various financial data. She will also assist the development director and development officer with event logistics, manage donor data and help with other development-related tasks.

Day has a history working in conservation and preservation and most recently served as operations manager for the Timucuan Parks Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of North Florida. While in college, she worked as a park guide in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. She also previously worked with the Jacksonville Public Library.

Day is currently working on her Florida Master Naturalist certificate and serves as secretary on the North Florida Master Naturalists board. Day, a resident of Riverside, is also an avid hiker and volunteers with the Florida Trail Association.

NFLT added the new operations manager position to assist with the organization’s growing workload. Over the last five years, NFLT has continued to increase the number of acres they have preserved and have expanded their focus areas to include the majority of counties in north Florida.


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