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Girl Scout Volunteers Honored at Gala on St. John

Oct. 22, 2004 –– Volunteers are the backbone of Girl Scout movement, and five of them were honored Friday at the Girl Scouts First Volunteer Recognition Gala held at the Westin Resort and Villas on St. John.
They are Corrine Lockhart, Robert O'Connor Jr., James Penn, Kristine Brunt, and David Bornn.
St. Thomas resident Corrine Lockhart garnered accolades even from the other honorees.
"I'm proud to be part of honoring Corrine Lockhart," Brunt said as gala goers gathered at the pink and green-bedecked Westin ballroom.
Lockhart was the first president of the Girl Scout Council of the Virgin Islands, served as a leader, and had the Girl Scout camp on St. Thomas named in her honor. She began her Girl Scout involvement in 1951.
"She groomed a lot of us," council president Jacqueline Dennis said.
Lockhart didn't have much to say, but did note that she enjoyed her scouting years.
"And I'm honored," she said of the event.
Bornn, a St. Thomas attorney, could not attend the event. Brunt said that Bornn helps with the numerous legal issues facing the Girl Scout Council.
O'Connor and Penn are both St. John residents. O'Connor said he's been on the Girl Scout board since the early 1990s.
"There've been some challenges, but it's been real rewarding to be in a group that makes a big difference in people's lives," O'Connor said.
Penn is a 27-year veteran of the Girl Scout board. He said he hopes someone follows in his footsteps to take his place on the board. Penn said that too many people sign on just so they can mention their participation on their resume.
"They are not committed," he said.
Those honored shared the night with family and friends. St. John resident Warren Wells said he came to show his support for both O'Connor and Penn.
"They're my friends," he said.
Penn's daughter, Lornette, said her father was hardworking and deserved her support. She added that she, too, had been a Girl Scout.
While the night was about the honorees, others reflected on the difference the Girl Scouts made in their lives.
"I was in one of the first Girl Scout troops in St. Croix," Delegate Donna M. Christensen said.
She was wearing Girl Scout pins, including one that noted her membership in the Congressional Girl Scouts, on her chic black dress.
Christensen and many others said that scouting helps develop self-esteem, perhaps one of the most important benefits of scouting.
Other current and former politicians were on hand for the festivities.
Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone said that all the girls in his family were Girl Scouts.
Sen. Lorraine Berry said she sees Girl Scouts as a way to groom future senators.
"We need to have more women get involved in politics," she said.
St. John resident Carole DeSenne, who serves as director of the St. John Community Foundation, said Girl Scouts changed her life.
Reminiscing, she told tales about her scout leader who took DeSenne's troop to charm school at Sears and taught them not to wear stripes with plaids.
"And she gave us Crispy Kreme donuts and a glass of milk," she recalled.
DeSenne plans to serve as a leader in St. John's revitalized scouting movement.
St. John resident Lonnie Willis is leading the charge.
Willis said she's starting a Studio 2B scout troop, which is aimed at older girls who want a more modern approach to scouting.
She said she plans to soon hold a meeting for anyone interested helping a St. John Girl Scout troop start up or is interested in belonging.
Call Willis at 693-8590.

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