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It was a reasonable ask. Amanda Dabrowski and Jessie Dertke just wanted to do more outdoor activities and go camping. So, they joined the Boy Scouts. Specifically, Arlington’s Troop 104, the oldest continuously operated troop in the Commonwealth and first established more than a century ago.

For nearly all of those years, though, girls weren’t allowed to join.

But all of that changed in 2019 when the Boy Scouts of America allowed girls ages 11 to 17 years old to enter their ranks for the first time. The organization was renamed Scouts BSA. Additionally, the new members were given the opportunity to rise to the rank of Eagle Scout.

The very first day, February 1, 2019, that girls were allowed to join the Boy Scouts, then-12-year-old Dabrowski did exactly that. And went camping, winter be damned.

“I was so excited. And there was a camp-up that day, so I went out and did it. It was six degrees and freezing cold. But I was really, really psyched,” Dabrowski tells ARLnow, now 15 and living in the Ashton Heights neighborhood.

Dabrowski, as well as Dertke have gone on to become Eagle Scouts, making them among the first girls in Arlington to not only be part of what was once called the Boy Scouts but achieve the organization’s highest rank.

“I’m super proud,” Dabrowski says. “It makes me really happy and [becoming an Eagle Scout] doesn’t feel quite real yet… I’m one of the first people within the movement to be part of this.”

Overall, the two Arlingtonians are part of as many as 140,000 girls nationwide who have joined Scouts BSA since early 2019.

Like some who make history, the locals’ initial intentions weren’t necessarily to be first. It was simply to have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. They just wanted to go camping, build fires, and learn how to use a hatchet.

Dabrowski explains that she used to tag along with her twin brother’s troop, doing all of the same activities and completing all the tasks, but wasn’t given the same opportunity for recognition.

“It was really hard to see my brother get the awards and, then, I had done the same things, but wasn’t able to be awarded it because of my gender,” she says.

For 18-year-old Dertke, who’s now a student at Virginia Tech, joining the Scouts was also a way to get outside and go camping. Though, she did have some trepidation about joining.

“I kinda didn’t really want to join at first because I was worried people would say, ‘What are you doing here? You are a girl?’,” she says. “It was actually a great atmosphere and everyone was very supportive. It was a very good decision [to join].”

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Girl Scouts delivering cookies to Virginia Hospital Center in 2021 (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Increased in-person sales have led to more cookies sold for local Girl Scouts in 2022.

With cookie sales coming to a close this weekend, Girl Scouts in Arlington and Alexandria are celebrating a solid season of sales.

So far, local Girl Scouts have sold more than 270,000 boxes of cookies. That’s an increase of about 35% from last year, despite an 11% dip in online orders compared to 2020 when sales were mostly all virtual.

Much of the increase can be attributed to more booth and in-person sales, local co-cookie chair Laura Loomis tells ARLnow. She helps oversee sales for Association 60, which encompasses Arlington and Alexandria and is comprised of 60 troops with more than 3,000 girls.

There was also a 26% increase in the number of boxes donated to military services, Loomis notes.

Overall, the D.C. area regional branch of the Girl Scouts sold more than 4 million cookies, according to a press release. This exceeded both last year’s total of 3 million and this year’s stated goal of 3.6 million.

There are still several days left, though, to get those Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Adventurefuls, and Lemon-Ups at ten in-person booths in Arlington County.

Below is a list of Arlington booth locations for last-minute cookie purchases this week:.

  • East Falls Church Metro (2000 N. Sycamore Street)
    • Tuesday, March 8, 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Courthouse Metro (2100 Wilson Blvd)
    • Wednesday, March 9, 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street)
    • Thursday, March 10, 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, March 11, 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, March 12, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Ballston Metro (901 N. Stuart Street)
    • Wednesday, March 9, 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, March 11, 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, March 12, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2901 S. Glebe Road)
    • Friday, March 11, 4 p.m.- 8 p.m.
    • Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    • Sunday, March 13, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3115 Langston Blvd)
    • Friday, March 11, 4 p.m.- 8 p.m.
    • Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    • Sunday, March 13, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3450 Washington Blvd)
    • Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    • Sunday, March 13, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Safeway (3717 Langston Blvd)
    • Friday, March 11, 4 p.m.- 8 p.m.
    • Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    • Sunday, March 13, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd)
    • Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    • Sunday, March 13, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd)
    • Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Girl Scouts website has a full booth sales calendar.

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Rain puddles in Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It was quite a week.

There was everything from breaking news, like the county finalizing a new jail medical provider after the latest inmate death, to helpful stories like where to stock up on Girl Scout cookies. And you all seemed particularly interested in stories about wayward poultry and an aggressive fox.

Here are the most-read Arlington articles of the past week.

  1. Rogue chicken caught sneaking around Pentagon entrance
  2. Crawfish eatery Chasin’ Tails is leaving Arlington for Falls Church
  3. Fox menaces Gulf Branch neighborhood, leading to rabies warning
  4. Another death reported at Arlington County jail
  5. Two arrested after assaults at Columbia Pike businesses over the weekend
  6. As the ranks of freelancers swell, the taxman cometh for those in Arlington
  7. Covid case counts decline to pre-Christmas levels in Arlington
  8. Arlington is phasing out EasyPark devices this month
  9. Girl Scouts bring back more in-person cookie sales, starting this week
  10. Clarendon salon launches gender-neutral pricing model

Feel free to discuss those stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend and stay warm, Arlington!

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(Updated 4 p.m.) Since Girl Scout cookie season started, troops in north Arlington have donated 671 boxes to their hometown heroes: the staff at Virginia Hospital Center.

“It’s very local and very personal,” said Dorine Andrews, the Service Unit Manager for the local scouts. “[VHC] is a real institution in Northern Virginia, and we really feel that the healthcare workers are overworked.”

One of the troops — six Glebe Elementary 3rd grade girls of Brownie troop #60229 — harnessed the power of Instagram to sell 1,415 boxes, 395 of which they donated to VHC, she said. The troop with the second-most boxes, #60160, donated 59 boxes.

“None of the other troops have really done what this troop has done in terms of social media,” Andrews said. “It really worked well.”

The third-grade entrepreneurs used Instagram to work around some limitations to the online Girl Scout cookie platform, she said.

“The system works fairly well for buying cookies online, but for any kind of custom donations, it’s very difficult,” Andrews said. “I think these girls and their parents were incredibly creative.”

The cookies will be distributed via a “sunshine cart,” which one employee volunteers to wheel through the hospital, distributing snacks to boost morale, said Hilary Phillips, the executive assistant to the president at Virginia Hospital Center Foundation.

“We are thrilled that our local Girl Scout Service Unit has adopted Virginia Hospital Center as its ‘Hometown Hero,’ collecting more than 650 boxes of cookies to share with our staff,” Phillips said in a statement. “We continue to be grateful for the incredible support we receive from the Arlington Community.”

Phillips said the foundation tries to feed staff who work directly with COVID-19 patients, which works out to about 140 people each shift. Other local organizations have also pitched in.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization has donated thousands of lunches to nurses. Local startup HUNGRY facilitated the donation of 600 meals to VHC in January, in addition to its other local food donation efforts.

But Phillips is looking for more support.

“Now I’m going on local people calling out of goodness of people’s heart,” she said.

Donations can be made by going to the foundation’s donation page and select “Healthy Meals for Clinical Staff by TryHungry.com.” Those who want to loop in a local restaurant through their donations can contact Phillips directly at [email protected]virginiahospitalcenter.com

Those interested in donating cookies can email Andrews at  [email protected].

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Girl Scouts have found a half-dozen ways to get their crave-worthy cookies to customers in spite of the pandemic. Here is how to do it.

Starting this week, people can buy cookies online and have them delivered through the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital chapter. On Friday, troops will set-up booths in at least four locations in Arlington to sell cookies.

That is a dramatic drop-off from last year, when ARLnow counted more than 20 locations.

“I think it has to do with the fact that a lot of folks are not doing the sales this year because of the question of risk,” said Laura Loomis, a local cookie volunteer leader.

Here are the locations and schedules, according to the Girl Scouts’ cookie finder:

  • Virginia Square Metro Station (3600 Fairfax Drive): every Friday from Feb. 5 to March 5.
  • Market Common Clarendon (2801 Clarendon Blvd): every weekend from Sunday, Feb. 7 to Sunday, Feb. 21.
  • Rosslyn Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street): Feb. 5, Feb. 11 and March 5
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd): every Saturday from Feb. 6 to March 6.

All cookie sales end March 14.

“This year we had a decrease, but of course, Girl Scouts have found a way,” said Tygerian Burke, the marketing and communications manager for Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital.

Buying cookies online works like this:

  • Customers can type their zip code into the cookie finder and find local troops selling cookies virtually.
  • When customers click the link corresponding to the troop of their choice, the link will take them to a page with a description of what the sales will go toward and directions for buying the cookies.
  • The cookies can be shipped to the customer’s house or to someone else as a donation.

The Girl Scouts are also having cookies delivered via GrubHub, a promotion that started in the D.C. area on Thursday, Burke said. Drivers can deliver cookies to homes within a 25 minute radius of where a scout or troop is located, which in D.C. traffic, will mean varying distances, she added.

She advised checking social media for Facebook Live promotions of GrubHub deliveries throughout the month-and-a-half of sales.

While the online option has been around for a few years, Loomis said “this is the first year where we’ve seen a growth,” which she attributed to people wishing to minimize exposure to the coronavirus.

Burke said some troops within the council are setting up drive-through locations as well as signs with QR codes linking to their personalized virtual booth pages.

Girl Scouts are selling Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Do-si-dos and Tagalongs — as well as a new cookie called Lemon-Ups — for $5 a box. Two specialty cookies, S’mores and Toffee-tastics, go for $6 a box.

Image via Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital

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(Updated at 6 p.m.) This year, Arlingtonians spread Christmas cheer in new ways to bring hope to people virtually or from a distance.

Choir directors at Arlington Public Schools and Bishop O’Connell High School spent hundreds of hours stitching together student videos to create virtual Christmas concerts. A troop of Brownie Scouts virtually judged a gingerbread contest for folks at a local retirement home. And Santa is making special stops in Arlington in his pickup truck, visiting with children from a distance.

Bishop O’Connell choir director Kyra Stahr burned the midnight candle to publish videos to replace the Christmas concert, which is normally the most well-attended performance, she said.

“I feel like I got more creative in how to make that excitement and cheer possible,” she said, adding that she and her students donned Christmas sweaters and watched all the performances on Zoom.

“It worked out better than I could’ve hoped for,” DJO choir student and junior Tommy Green said. “It was a nice way to exit the year.”

Fellow junior Melanie Greig said “it was almost like we were actually singing together in a concert.”

Meanwhile, Glebe Elementary student and Brownie Scout Leah Meder virtually judged a gingerbread decorating contest at the Sunrise Senior Living facility near the school, on N. Glebe Road, along with other members of Troop 60095. From 11 participants, the young judges awarded the most festive, most creative and most delicious-looking houses, and also created a special holiday greeting for the residents.

“I still felt the spark of holiday spirit when we did this online,” said Meder, who is eight years old. “Since [the residents] are living away from people they know, and can only see them a couple times a year, they can probably have more holiday spirit.”

The festivity creativity in Arlington extends to visits by the jolly one himself.

This afternoon (Wednesday), Santa is parading his sleigh — a converted pickup truck — through Arlington neighborhoods from Foxcroft Heights to Columbia Forest, the final route after two mobile Santa visits through Lyon Park and Ashton Heights.

“It’s a tough year for everybody,” said Lyon Park resident Paul Showalter, who is playing the role of Santa. “It’s really fun to see the faces of the little kids as they see Santa drive up in his sleigh.”

This morning (Wednesday), Showalter said he made a special delivery to a boy named Charlie, who had asked Santa for boxes, thread and tape for Christmas. Neighbors and Glebe Appliance donated the boxes, and Charlie will use the supplies to make a British fleet ship.

Also spreading joy is the Yorktown High School choir, which sent the musical videos it produced to faculty, friends and family, reaching an even greater audience this year.

“These videos are my Christmas gifts,” said Jocelyn Mullins, the Yorktown choir director, who directed renditions of “Holiday Road” and “The Sleigh.”

“That’s how it’s keeping my holidays alive,” she said.

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It’s that time of year again — spring is around the corner, Shamrock Shakes are officially back at McDonald’s as of today, and Girl Scout cookies are currently on sale all around Arlington.

So where can you restock on your favorite seasonal baked goods? As in years past, local Girl Scouts are setting up shop all over the county. Most cookie-selling stations are located around grocery stores and Metro stations.

Here are some of the places around town you can get your grubby hands on those delicious cookies.

  • Ace Hardware (2001 Clarendon Blvd) — Saturday, Feb. 22: 12-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Arlington Soccer Tournament (3600 N. Harrison Street) — Saturday, Feb. 29, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Ballston Metro station (901 N. Stuart Street) — Weekdays: 3:30-7:30 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Cathedral of Saint Thomas More (3901 Cathedral Lane) — Sunday, March 1: 8 a.m.- 12 p.m.
  • Central Place Plaza Rosslyn (1800 N. Lynn Street) — Thursdays and Fridays: 4-7:30 p.m.
  • Crystal City Metro station (1750 S. Clark Street) — Weekdays: 3-7 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Courthouse Metro station (2100 Wilson Blvd): Weekdays: 3:30-7:30 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • East Falls Church Metro station (2000 Sycamore Street) — Weekdays: 3:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2501 9th Road S.) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2901 S. Glebe Road) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3115 Lee Hwy) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3450 Washington Blvd) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) — Saturday, Feb. 22: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23: 1-5 p.m.
  • Market Common near Playground/B&N (2801 Clarendon Blvd) — Sunday, March 1: 1-5 p.m.
  • MedStar Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road) — Saturdays: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays: 1-6 p.m.
  • Meridian Pint (6035 Wilson Blvd) — Friday, Feb. 21: 4-8 p.m.
  • Pentagon City Metro station (1200 S. Hayes Street) — Weekdays: 3:30-7 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Pentagon Centre (1201 S. Hayes Street) — Saturday, Feb. 22: 4-7 p.m, Sunday, Feb. 23: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (2500 Harrison Street) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (3717 Lee Hwy) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (1525 Wilson Blvd) — Sundays: 1-6 p.m.
  • Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd) — Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

You can find a full list of places where Girl Scouts are selling their wares here.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Arlington Tech Company Acquired — Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm Imperva has acquired Arlington-based bot mitigation startup Distil Networks. [TechCrunch, Imperva]

Permits Filed for B&E’s on Lee — Bob and Edith’s Diner finally applied for construction permits last month for its planned but delayed Lee Highway location. [Arlington Economic Development]

Jail Holds Family Event for Inmates — “Some Arlington County children got a rare opportunity Tuesday night: a chance to visit with their fathers and mothers — who are in jail — without any barriers between them.” [WJLA]

Local Girl Scouts Help Seniors — “They came in need of help, smartphones in hand… Girl Scout Troop 60013 was on it. This week, the Arlington, Virginia-based scouts hosted ‘TechBridge,’ their first walk-in clinic to help local senior citizens learn how to use their cellphones.” [CNN]

County Fair Seeking Judges — “Organizers of the Arlington County Fair are seeking volunteers both to register and judge entries for the competitive-exhibit competition. Volunteers with expertise will serve as superintendents and judges in a host of categories, with judging taking place Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Campaign Ad Questioned — A TV ad placed by a political action committee on behalf of commonwealth’s attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is being questioned. The ad brings up recent anti-abortion laws in other states says incumbent Theo Stamos “would enforce anti-choice laws” in Virginia. The video cited in the ad shows Stamos saying she “takes an oath to uphold the law” but would not enforce an unconstitutional law. [Blue Virginia]

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If you’ve got a hankering for samoas, thin mints and tagalongs these days, you’re in luck — it’s officially Girl Scout cookie season around Arlington.

Local troops have begun setting up booths around the county, with proceeds of the annual sale set to benefit the local Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and fund a variety of trips and programs for kids around Arlington.

Booths are generally set up at Metro stations, grocery stores and other popular spots in the county.

Here’s a look at some of the main spots to get your cookie fix over the next few weeks:

  • Ace Hardware (2001 Clarendon Blvd): Saturday (March 2): 12-4 p.m. Sunday (March 3): 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Ballston Metro station (901 N. Stuart Street): Weekdays, 3:30-7 p.m., weekends 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street): Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays, 12:45-5 p.m.
  • Central Place Plaza Rosslyn (1800 N. Lynn Street): Thursdays and Fridays: 4-7:30 p.m.
  • Crystal City Metro station (1750 S. Clark Street): Weekdays, 3-7 p.m., weekends 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Courthouse Metro station (2100 Wilson Blvd): Weekdays, 3:30-7 p.m., weekends 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Deloitte Rosslyn (1919 North Lynn Street): Thursday (Feb. 28): 11:30-1 p.m.
  • East Falls Church Metro station (2000 Sycamore Street): Weekdays, 3:30-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2501 9th Road S.): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2901 S. Glebe Road): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3115 Lee Highway): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3450 Washington Blvd): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd): Saturday (March 2): 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (March 3): 1-5 p.m. March 9: 12-3 p.m.
  • Marymount University (2816 N. Dinwiddie Street): Wednesday (Feb. 27), 4:30-7:30 p.m.
  • MedStar Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road): Saturday (March 2): 9:30-2 p.m. Sunday (March 3): 1-6 p.m.
  • Mt. Olive Baptist Church (1601 13th Road S.): Sundays: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Pentagon City Metro station (1200 S. Hayes Street): Weekdays, 3:30-7 p.m., weekends 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Safeway (2500 Harrison Street): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (3717 Lee Highway): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (1525 Wilson Boulevard): Sundays: 1-6 p.m.
  • Safeway (5101 Wilson Boulevard): Fridays: 4-8 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd.): Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Photo via Girl Scouts of the United States of America

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Though National Skip The Straw Day already passed this year, three local Girl Scouts are asking their fellow students not to use plastic straws for a week.

The Claremont Immersion School students presented their research on the effect that plastic straws have on the environment to third through fifth grade science classes last week.

The project is part of a Girl Scouts bronze award project, in which junior level scouts tackle a project that they believe will “create a long-lasting change in their community.”

The trio, all members of Arlington Troop 4594, hopes to have at least 300 students sign the pledge and use paper, silicone, bamboo or steel straws — or no straws at all.

According to one of the girls’ parents, Levi Novey, the girls also intend to approach two restaurants, pitching a plastic straw-free dining area.

According to Novey, the three girls are being advised by two mentors: Kate Ceste, the Arlington County Solid Waste Bureau’s contracts manager, and Elenor Hodges, executive director of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment.

Photos courtesy of Levi Novey

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