PATERSON, NJ - More than 50 local officials, Girl Scouts and supporters came out to celebrate the grand opening of the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey Paterson Resource Center on January 27 inside Planet 301 at the Center City Mall, 301 Main St. in Paterson.

The Girl Scout Resource Center will be open Monday-Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, in addition to some weekends and nights. The organization will be offering program activities, training and leadership opportunities to girls in the area.  

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Among the programs offered at the new site are Girl Scout troops for girls in grades K-5, mini-camp during NJ Teachers’ Convention, a one-day event during President’s weekend on February 18, girls basketball, a counselor-in-training program for girls in grades 9-12, Girl Scout Chorus and a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, which will begin in May 2011.

Guests celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony and GSNNJ’s Chief Program Officer Charisse Taylor discussed the numerous programs and training opportunities that will be available to area residents.

New Jersey State Senate resolution was presented by Betty Shabazz, legislative aide to Senator John Girgenti, stating, “The Senate of the State of New Jersey is pleased to honor and salute the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, a highly esteemed organization within the Garden State, upon the occasion of the grand opening of the Paterson Resource Center and to join in affirming its important place in the community.”

Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones was also present to give his congratulations and support for the new resource center and recognize the Girl Scouts as an important pillar in the community. Among other honored guests was Councilman Andre Sayegh.

“Positive things are happening in Paterson and Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey is part of that,” said Sayegh. “I want to congratulate the organization on the opening of the resource center and on finding a home in Paterson for all the girls who benefit from the program.”

The Girl Scout council, which serves Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Sussex and northern Warren counties, opened the resource center on October 25 in order to offer the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to nearby communities, including Paterson.

“There are many girls in the Paterson, Clifton, and Passaic area who want to join Girl Scouts. By opening this facility, we are bringing Girl Scouting directly to the girls and their adult mentors,” said Helen Wronski, president and CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.  “We want all girls to have the chance to enjoy and grow from the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

Wronski said she is also hoping to build community partnerships with other local organizations and businesses to strengthen the community.

Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey has been offering various programs at local schools and in the community, including an eight-week summer program at JFK High School; special interest groups at School 9, School 27, Alexander Hamilton School, St. Gerard’s School, Paterson Recreation, School 5, Community Charter School, Oasis Center, Norman S. Weir School; and Girl Scout troops at St. Bonaventure, Second Baptist Church, Prophetic Church, Eastside High School, United Presbyterian Church. Other programs include basketball at St. Mary’s School, Blessed Sacrament, School 9 and Lady Ghosts; Latin dance at St. Mary’s School; soccer at Blessed Sacrament and School 9;  cheerleading at School 27, School 26, and School 5; and art at St. Mary’s School.

For information and registration for any of these programs, please contact Nelly Celi at (973) 881-9400.

Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves 20.5 percent of girls ages 5-17 in 160 municipalities including all of Bergen, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex counties and the northern half of Warren County. There are currently 33,795 girl members and 17,395 adult members.