Senior Girl Scout Samantha Jeager of Troop 2163 in Secaucus is a picture of unassuming determination. On April 20, she accepted the Women of Distinction Award at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston. The award celebrates older Girl Scouts who are active in their local council.
As an eager participant in the Girl Scout Council of Greater Essex and Hudson Counties, Jeager, 15, has achieved significant accomplishments and represents the future leadership of the community.
"We pick senior Girl Scouts who exhibit above and beyond what it means to be a leader," said Council Funding Development Director Marion McCarthy. "These girls are not just involved in Troop activities, but are an asset to the community."
Jeager graduated from Secaucus Middle School with honors two years ago and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She now attends Secaucus High School. Jeager achieved a Silver Award in 2004. The award represents accomplishments in the community reflecting a project to improve the scout's life and the lives of others. To achieve it, Samantha organized 70 Girl Scouts in the Hudson County Troops from Daisies (5 or 6 years old) to Cadette Seniors, getting them to perform a singalong at St. Matthews Church. She had to choose the songs, coordinate the training, and set up the performance. "I developed the project and got the girls together, advertised the show - there was a lot of networking to get Scout leaders to teach the different songs," said Jeager. "I mostly enjoy teaching different age groups and visiting different towns and learning new things."
Girl Scouts have come a long way since the craft-oriented days of the 1960s. Current Scouts go out into the world to learn skills that will help them in their adult life. Jeager works with a Brownie Troop (first to third graders), tutors elementary school children, and assists in various Council activities. She has been rock climbing and visited a dude ranch with her troop.
"With the Daisies who are very young, you have to find something simple enough so they can do it, but interesting enough so they will keep doing it," said Samantha.
Plus, Scout Jeager has been on Good Morning America as a Junior Scout representing the Council on the nationwide Girl Scout Anniversary date - March 12. She was in fourth grade at the time.
When her troop when to Madame Trousseau's Wax Museum in NYC, she made the best of an unconventional Scout trip. The enterprising teen found museum personnel to talk to Troop 2163 about technical aspects of the famous facility, such as temperature control and HVAC systems, as well as keeping costumes current on the wax replica mannequins.
"There's even a car badge where you learn how one works and how to up keep it," said Jeager. "More than learning how to be an adult, Girl Scouting helps you get through your teenage years."
All in the family
Samantha's mother Judy Jeager has been involved in Scouting for 35 years. She started as a Girl Scout as a child, and in her married life, attended activities while pregnant with Samantha. Her new daughter officially became a Daisy when she was in kindergarten.
"I believe in the purpose and principles. Teaching the girls what it takes to be the best," said the elder Jeager. "I was a Girl Scout and continued as a Girl Scout leader." Mike Jeager says he is very proud of his two children and wife. Samantha has a brother, Michael, 20, who is an Assistant Scout Master for his Eagle Scout Troop 222.
Besides an active life as a Senior Cadet, Samantha plays flute in the Secaucus High School Marching Band. She says each organization builds on the skills learned in the other.
"Being in the Girl Scouts has taught me many worthwhile things," she said. "It's also a great place to hang out with friends."