COLONIE — 2020 is almost in the books, thankfully, and a group of girl scouts, during a day of near normalcy and tradition, hung wishes on a tree to usher in the Christmas season and the New Year.
“I wish COVID never happened,” “No More COVID,” and the broader aspiration to see “Peace and Happiness for the World” were just a few of the circle-shaped ornaments expressing the wishes of Girl Scouts in Troop 1385 hung on a tree outside businesses at Newton Plaza.
The fourth year the girl scouts decorated trees outside the boutique businesses along Route 9 was not like any of the other three — all the scouts and their parents were masked and social distances were maintained to the best of their abilities.
“We are decorating our tress and we have the little circles that say what we want for everyone and our theme was rainbow,” said Troop 1385 scout Alison Nolan through a mask. “It feels really weird (doing it in a mask.) We can’t eat the candy until after and usually we go to Bruegger’s and eat before we go to out to our tree but we couldn’t’ go until after this year.”
“No More COVID-19,” chipped in scout Sita Maroney.
“One of my wishes is for everyone to have a safe Christmas, especially because of COVID and everyone social distancing. And the trees are very beautiful,” said Eloise Redmann. “It feels good to do something normal.”
“I just want COVID to leave,” added Julia Hanchett.
With a cases surging throughout the country, events are being voluntarily cancelled to help stop the spread of the virus. The Capital District will likely hit a yellow or an orange zone this week, which will bring more restrictions mandated by the state. With all that going on, the scouts were happy to be able to do something normal this holiday season.
“The girls always look forward to it, and with COVID this year we have been talking about finding the silver lining in everything so we wanted to put our wishes out there that would make everyone happy,” said Lindsay Hanchett, a co-leader for Troop 1385. “We weren’t sure if we would be out here or not, and we weren’t sure there would be music, but it is making the holidays a little brighter.”
The School of Rock put on short concert while the scouts were decorating the trees.
There were a number of different girl scout troops on hand to decorate the dozen or so trees set up outside the many businesses in Newton Plaza.
“It’s something normal. It feels a little different than before but it feels nice to have a little bit of tradition back. We have done it for the last couple years so it feels especially good to do it this year,” said Ashley Halko, of Troop 1550. “It’s nice to spread some holiday cheer, especially with all that is going on this year, we feel some people are going to need it.”
Scout Amanda Halko said the trees are spread out and there is not a lot of crowding to she was not bothered by being in somewhat of a group setting.
“I feel safe, there are a lot of people here but we are all spread out and the trees are all spread out,” she said. “It feel good to be doing something for the holidays.”
“We are outside too and we are staying within our own group saying away from people outside our group,” said Scout Caroline Merolle. “We are already exposed to each other.”
Students have been on again off again in person learning and Scout Olivia Lovly said it is nice to see some friends in person again.
“We have been going virtual so it’s nice to get out and see everyone in person, even for a little while,” she said. “And it’s nice doing something for the holidays too. Maybe it will make some people happy.”