Galloway Township-based Girl Scout Troop 12556 may boast only three members, but its impact is bigger than its numbers suggest.
The members take part in typical Scout activities, attending camps, donating community service hours and, of course, selling cookies - and match the efforts of larger groups in doing so.
"Their cookie sales, although it was just three, they did more than they did last year (with five members)," said troop leader Miriam Martinez. "It's the little engine that could."
On April 3, scouts Tiffany Silva, Corinne Podolski and Annalise Catherine visited the residents of the Absecon Manor senior center to serve them tea and cookies on bingo night.
The girls had held annual tea parties among themselves since the group was formed six years ago when its members were in first grade.
Last year, after enjoying their experience volunteering with the Absecon Manor residents over the holidays, the girls decided to use their tea sets to serve others, rather than themselves.
Tiffany, who is Martinez's daughter, said she had been looking forward to visiting the seniors again.
"They're really fun," she said. "They're happy when we come around, and they enjoy us being here."
The residents were given a choice of regular and peach tea as well as Girl Scout-branded shortbread cookies.
Manor resident Bob Crugnale, who also attended the first tea party last April, said he again enjoyed their visit.
"I think it was wonderful of them to come down," Crugnale said. "Them kids are nice. I liked it."
The girls also have helped out at bingo night a few times since last year's tea party.
After the residents had been served their tea and cookies, the girls presented them with several new games, including Connect Four, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, a fishing-themed version of Monopoly and a few sets of playing cards.
Annalise came up with the idea to buy the new games after the girls' most recent visit to the Manor, during which one of the residents showed her their game collection.
"They looked really old, like they were falling apart, so we decided to buy new ones," she said.
The new games were paid for through funds raised by the girls' winter cookie sale, during which they sold more than 1,200 boxes. This haul made them the highest volume selling troop per scout in the area, Martinez said.
After the presentation, the seniors expressed their excitement at trying their hands at the new games. It's seeing them smile, Corinne said, that makes the trips to Absecon Manor worthwhile.
"They're always excited to see us," she said. "We really just want to make them happy."
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