Allyson Hocter of Jaffrey earns Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Allyson Hocter of Jaffrey has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor for a high-schooler, the Girl Scout Gold Award. COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 5/12/2022 12:00:22 PM

Allyson Hocter of Jaffrey has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor, the Gold Award, for her work to put more people in touch with organizations who would love to have their help.

Hocter, 17, realized there was a “huge lack of accessible information on the types of volunteer opportunities and nonprofits in my town and surrounding areas. The local organizations don't have an easy way to ask for volunteers and share the amazing work they do.” With her project, “Creating Community Connection,” Hocter put together a database of local nonprofits and how they help or could use help from the community. Those who are interested in volunteering, such as teens who need volunteer hours for school or other organizations like Girl Scouts who want to help, can now consult her database to find out how to help.

“I’ve volunteered a lot,” stated Hocter. “I found a lot of really good connections through volunteering, and I found that I really enjoyed doing it. It’s one of those things I really love to do. So I wanted to relate my Gold project back to that, because it’s such a big part of my life.”

Hocter worked with the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, which now has the database for the public to access. It is available only in print at the Chamber of Commerce offices. It basically has “every single organization in the area, what they do, what they’re looking for in volunteers or in donations, and how to contact them,” she stated.

Hocter also held a volunteer fair in October, bringing together local organizations like the Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Reality Check, Team Jaffrey and the Monadnock 4H Robotics team, as well as providing space for organizations who could not attend in person to make their information available, including the Jaffrey Fire Department, Monadnock Kitty Rescue and both Jaffrey and Rindge food pantries. She also created a Facebook page called “Creating Community Connections: A Monadnock Area Volunteer Resource,” which lists opportunities to volunteer, such as the upcoming Walk for Recovery on May 21.

“My Gold Award set an example for other communities and how they can spread awareness to others,” she wrote in her final report on the project. “There were organizations from all over the state who were interested in what I was doing. In addition to this, national nonprofits who came to the event were spreading my information and my message. The word was getting out to people all over and I hope other communities will follow my lead.”

Working on this project required communicating with different organizations in the community.

“I gained a lot confidence, but also the ability to write a professional email, which I didn’t necessarily use as much beforehand, but I kind of had to figure out what words to use, where to write things, and how to approach things in a professional, adult manner,” she stated. “It gave me the experience and personal growth to be confident in myself, and to reach out to people in a way that I hadn’t done before.”

The Conant High School senior and Girl Scout Ambassador has been a member of Girl Scouts since kindergarten. She earlier earned the Girl Scout Silver Award by fundraising and installing a special spinning seat at the local playground for those with sensory issues or other disabilities. Hocter stated her years with Girl Scouts meant “bouncing back and forth between troops with girls older than me and younger than me, but it was kind of cool because I got to experience different leaders and the way they ran their troops and do different things every year because I wasn’t always with the same people.”

She enjoyed visiting the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, helping the women’s club with bingo nights, selling Girl Scout cookies and going to Girl Scout summer camp.

“I went to Camp Farnsworth for three or four years, and I really enjoyed that,” she stated. “I met a lot of people that still talk to and engage with. I actually did one year, we went out in the middle of the woods and camped for a night. Completely off the grid. That was really cool.”

Hocter is graduating from high school with a 4.0 grade-point average in the New Hampshire Scholars program, is a member of the National Honor Society and is going for her black belt in tae kwon do. She plans to attend Siena College for business marketing, which she hopes to turn into a career running a nonprofit organization.


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