By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough resident Judy Wilchynski, who has been involved in Scouting for the past 54 years, was recently awarded the Lady Baden-Powell Award, recognizing women who have demonstrated integrity and genuine concern for others in both their professional and personal lives.
“It is basically for a woman who has worked with youth in the community, demonstrated leadership and has had an impact through service to others,” Wilchynski explained. “This is such a wonderful acknowledgement of the work I’ve done for the last 30 years in Westborough with both the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. There are so many mentors and people in leadership roles and not everyone gets recognized for their time and effort. I appreciate being recognized for working with both groups.”
The award is named after Olave Baden-Powell who founded the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts based upon the Boy Scout model which her husband, Robert Baden-Powell began. It originated in Boston was adopted by the Mayflower Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves the Metrowest and southeastern regions of Massachusetts.
Wilchynski will receive the award at the annual Good Scout Award Dinner held by the Westborough Boy Scouts Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Doubletree Hotel. The dinner is usually held to recognize one award recipient of the Good Scout Award. This will be the first year that the Lady Baden-Powell award will also be given by the Mayflower Boy Scout Council.
“The recipients need not be Scouts, but must carry the ‘spirit of Scouting’ into their adult lives,” read Wilchynski’s congratulatory letter. “They are people who have been unselfish in their service to others on an individual and community basis. They seek no return for their service, other than the satisfaction of aiding their fellow citizens, their community, and their nation. The Good Scouts are people who truly capture the respect and imagination of our youth.”
Wilchynski’s experiences with the Scouts have affected her as much as the Scouts she has mentored.
When she was co-chair of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting in 2012, Wilchynski worked with volunteers and council staff and at an event at UMass Amherst for 2,500 people. Women, families and girls came to enjoy all of the activities as well as the history of Girl Scouting.
“They got to meet female astronauts, authors and other girls from all over the state which was empowering,” said Wilchynski.
When her Girl Scout Troop drove 1,000 miles to Arizona in 2016, the group went hiking, horseback riding, and met Navajo Indians at a roadside stand selling their wares. The girls had been involved in a major fundraising effort for this trip for a couple of years before they were able to go forward with their plan.
“Moments like that cannot be planned but they can be life-changing,” Wilchynski noted. “You realize that there is awareness outside of Westborough.”
It is not just the Scouts that have benefited from her volunteerism. She has been involved in many community organizations and town committee over the years. She served for 17 years on the Westborough Local Emergency Planning Committee. She has volunteered with the Westborough Community Band Board of Directors, Friends of Westborough Public Library, Westborough Fine Arts Education Association, many school PTOss, General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Massachusetts, Westborough Women’s Club and The Friends of Westborough,Inc.
Wilchynski plans to continue her work with both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.