Local Girl Scouts have their cake and eat it, too

by Town Reminder

Turley Publications Staff Photos By Kristin Will
“The Awesome Bakers,” comprised of nine-year old Savannah Richard from Troop 141, 13-year-old Samantha Schwanter of Troop 98, Emma Mccurdy, 10, of Troop 11151 and eight-year-old Lily Matias, of Troop 40193, all from South Hadley, won the “Cake Boss Competition” held Sunday.

Local Girl Scouts have their cake and eat it, too
Raise funds for Birthday Wishes organization

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer, kwill@turley.com

SOUTH HADLEY – Armed with chocolate frosting, pretzel sticks and animal crackers, 14 teams of three to four Girl Scouts discussed their plans of action. To frost, or not to frost? Layer or carve?
The girls, ranging from Brownies to Juniors to Cadets, were competing Sunday in the first-ever Cake Boss competition to benefit Birthday Wishes, a Massachusetts organization which creates birthday parties for homeless children. Each team had 15 minutes to deliberate and map out just how they wanted to decorate their pre-baked cake. Then, they had 45 minutes to decorate any way they wanted, armed with their sweet supplies.
Teaching teamwork was the importance of the competition. The girls from the various troops didn’t know one another well, or at all. By being randomly placed in groups, co-coordinators Liz Frosch-Dratfield, leader of South Hadley Troop 11151 and Deb Mendes, head of the South Hadley Girl Scout Unit, created environments where both creativity and compassion could be fostered.
Spurred by the Girl Scouts’ collective love for the TLC cooking show “Cake Boss,” Dratfield and Mendes knew this activity, for which the girls received cooking badges, would be a hit. Parents dually appreciated the “cake-tivity.” Darcy Quatacker, whose daughter, Julia, an eight-year-old Brownie from South Hadley, competed in the cake challenge, said, “It’s a chance for her to interact and plus she loves to bake.” Granby resident Julie Bergeron, whose eight-year-old daughter Faith also competed, agreed. “I think it’s great for her to interact with girls she doesn’t know,” she said. “This is a lot of fun.”
Guest Judges Meg Clancy – the South Hadley Public Library Youth Services Librarian – and Joan Vohl – an eighth grade teacher in Granby – had three main categories on which they judged the Girl Scouts’ cakes: teamwork, creativity and presentation.
One group was named the winner, although it was emphasized to the girls that winning was not the main point of the event. “The Awesome Bakers,” which consisted of nine-year old Savannah Richard from South Hadley Troop 141, 13-year-old Samantha Schwanter of South Hadley Troop 98, Emma Mccurdy, 10, of South Hadley Troop 11151 and eight-year-old Lily Matias, of South Hadley Troop 40193, were deemed the winners and each girl took home plastic mixing bowls filled with brownie mix, measuring spoons, baking-themed notebooks, recipe cards and writing utensils. Their cake theme was “Girl Scout Camp.” Clancy called it the “epitome of scouting,” and added their detail of a campfire, comprised of red, yellow and orange jellybeans as well as pretzels for campfire sticks, was the proverbial icing on the cake in her decision to name them the winners.
“It shows we can do team work even if we don’t know each other,” said Mccurdy. “It feels like we did a good job. We all worked together. I feel pretty happy.”
Teammate Richard agreed. “It’s pretty exciting that, working with younger Girl Scouts, it might have been harder, but it actually wasn’t,” she said. “I feel really good.”
Also awarded was team “The Animals,” for their composure. The girls created a zoo cake and had a mishap when a leader flipped over one of their cakes, breaking part of it off. The team members were “flexible and cool under pressure,” said Vohl.
Collectively, $100 was raised for Birthday Wishes. Mendes’ Cadette Troop of which she is a leader, will shop for birthday party supplies for the organization later in the week and present them to a representative from Birthday Wishes April 13.
As a group, the girls’ ability to work together greatly impressed Dratfield. “I’m really thrilled,” she said. “It really was a good way to share what girl scouting is all about.”