CHATHAM, NJ - Just as New Jersey’s Primary Elections season is beginning, The League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area partnered with Chatham Girl Scouts and ran a Voter Girl program for 170 girls. At this half day event, the Morristown Area League of Women Voters ran a realistic mock voting activity, hosted women elected officials as speakers, and facilitated the girls earning Girl Scout citizenship badges.
The Scouts ranged from second grade through high school and scout leaders taught badge workshops about community, government, debate and compromise, elections, public policy and advocacy. The workshops also covered the timely Centennial of the 19th Amendment (establishing American women’s right to vote) coming up in 2020.
The event opened with welcome remarks from Betty Garger, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, and Nancy Hedinger, President of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.
Elected officials speaking and teaching the Girl Scouts included Ann Grossi, Morris County Clerk, Chatham Borough Council Members Vicki Fife, Jocelyn Mathiasen, and Carolyn Dempsey, former Chatham Township Mayor Susan Hoag, and Morris Township Deputy Mayor Cathy Wilson. These elected officials represented both the Democrat and Republican Parties.
“It was an honor to be among numerous elected women speaking at the Voter Girl event on March 30th", said guest speak, Morris County Clerk Anne Grossi. "Discussions ranged from the women’s suffrage movement, issues faced by women who want to enter politics, and the nuts and bolts of elections to the importance of young girls getting involved, speaking out on issues they feel strongly about, and voting and being heard. It was a fabulous event, expertly coordinated by the Chatham Girl Scouts and League of Women Voters.”
The program was held at the Chatham Girl Scouts' annual day of service.
"We created a lot of energy that coincides with the current surge of women in politics as well as with the upcoming celebration of the 100thAnniversary of the 19thAmendment.,” said Kathy Abbott, Voter Girl program organizer who was also a former Chatham Township Committee member.
“The Voter Girl event gave each Girl Scout, from our youngest Brownies through our High School Seniors, the opportunity to see the history of women’s suffrage and leadership in our country, and how they are a part of that story today", said guest speaker, Borough Council Member Carolyn Dempsey.. "We all have a voice, opinions and perspectives that are valuable and deserve to be heard. That is true from the time we are young girls through every stage in life. The Girl Scouts, and this event in particular, makes it clear to girls that they are the leaders of today and tomorrow, and it gives them the tools to harness their leadership potential.”
“The League of Women Voters of New Jersey would be happy to speak to any Girl Scout group about partnering with us to host Voter Girl”, said Nancy Hedinger, President of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.