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The Girl Scout Advantage Podcast

Sharing the importance of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, one story at a time. Tune in to hear miraculous stories from Girl Scouts, volunteers, parents, alumnae, and staff from everywhere in Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.

Pandemic Series: Bethany Wilson

While so much has been cancelled this year, Girl Scouts has not been cancelled. In fact, Bethany Wilson has had experiences so far this year facilitating safe in-person Girl Scout meetings, virtual experiences, and a hybrid model. Tune in today to learn about what each of these experiences have looked like, and how you can make the magic happen for your troop.

Want to support Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan? Visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GSHOMpodcast today. 

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Pandemic Series: Ali Van Overbeke

In this week’s episode of the Girl Scout Advantage Podcast, we hear from Membership Specialist Ali Van Overbeke about the importance of girl-led, one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Learn from Ali why it’s so important to keep girl-led at the forefront of your Girl Scout activities all the time, but right now especially.

Want to support Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan? Visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GSHOMpodcast today. 

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Pandemic Series: JoAnna Roach

In this week’s episode, we hear from JoAnna Roach, a Membership Team Lead for Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan. We know that girls are being significantly impacted by the pandemic, and JoAnna shares tips for how to positively engage girls in fun, simple ways.

Want to support Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan? Visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GSHOMpodcast today. 

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Pandemic Series: Molly Buckham

On this week’s episode about the effect of the pandemic on girls and how we can support girls through these times, we hear from Membership Specialist Molly Buckham about the many ways we can incorporate outdoor time into our day-to-day life. Listen today to learn about the benefits associated with spending time in the great outdoors.

Want to support Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan? Visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GSHOMpodcast today. 

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Pandemic Series: Audrey Reynolds

In this episode of our series about the impact of the pandemic on girls, we explore the benefits of the great outdoors and how Girl Scout camp can fit into the lives of girls. Our Outdoor Program Team Lead & Camp Linden Director, Audrey Reynolds, discusses the benefits of the outdoors and the ways we are here to serve girls now and always.

Want to support Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan? Visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GSHOMpodcast today. 

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Pandemic Series: Traci Judy

In the second episode of the pandemic series, Traci Judy, GSHOM Membership Specialist with a social work background, walks us through dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) techniques that troop leaders and parents can use to help girls dealing with big emotions during these unprecedented times.

Please note: These therapies are not a substitute for receiving professional health with mental health issues. If your girl needs professional mental health attention, please call 1-310-855-4673 or text TEEN to 839863.

Traci's email: TJudy@gshom.org

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Pandemic Series: Jan Barker

Girls have experienced the impact of COVID-19 and living through a pandemic. Here at Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, we are diving into the research about how girls specifically are impacted by quarantine, isolation, and everything else that comes with a global pandemic.

Beginning with our CEO, Jan Barker, this series will dive into how girls are impacted by COVID-19, and how Girl Scouts can help.

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Episode 29: Kori Swieter

Meet Kori Swieter, new Director of Camp O’ the Hills! In this episode, you’ll hear why Kori loves camp and the great outdoors, what she has learned at camp, and why camp is important for girls. Tune in to get to know our newest member of the Camp Team!

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Episode 28: Nicole Taylor

In the second episode focused on camp, you’ll hear from Assistant Director of Camp Linden, Nicole (otherwise known as Nickel). In this episode, we dive into anxiety and the outdoors, the Counselor in Training Program, getting girls off their phones, and all of the other magic that takes place at Girl Scout Camp. Tune in today!

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Episode 27: Brad Peltz

Brad Peltz is the Camp Director for Camp Merrie Woode! Brad joined the team within the last year, and we can’t wait for you to hear him talk about camp! He talks about the importance of getting in the outdoors and why girl-led is such an important part of Girl Scout Camp.

Tune in to hear all of this and so much more!

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Episode 26: Careers in GM Design

Girl Scouts fuels the leadership pipeline with experts in science, technology, engineering, and math. How does this happen? Through our robust badge offerings and community partnerships, we provide girls with real-life experiences that give them the skills they need to excel in life. One of these partners is GM Design, who hosts an event each year where Girl Scouts get to experience the behind-the-scenes action that happens at General Motors.

In this episode, you’ll hear all about the GM Design event offered for girls, why it’s important for girls to have experiences like these, and so much more. Tune in for the magic today!

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Episode 25: Grace & Sue

Kicking off Season 3, this episode chronicles the friendship of Grace and Sue, who were in the same Girl Scout troop growing up. They share a story of their adventure that started years ago on a troop trip, which they finally completed just recently.

The episode will remind you of the bond between childhood best friends, and the commitment between them. Join us as they describe the incredible adventure that has taken them years to co-author..

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Season 1
Episode 1: Jan Barker

Jan Barker, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, shares her experiences from the leadership viewpoint of our organization. Jan has over 20 years of experience in the CEO role, previously serving Girl Scouts Glowing Embers Council. In our inaugural episode, Jan paints a picture of Girl Scouts and how we create girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

In this episode, you will learn:
– The fifteen empirically-supported outcomes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
– Stories of girls and the ways in which Girl Scouting has changed their lives
– The magical moments that girls need and how we create them
– The benefits of experiencing the girl-only environment

Tune in to hear Jan’s take on all things Girl Scouts!

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Episode 2: Susan Monroe

“It’s not cookies, crafts, and camping anymore.” Susan Monroe, owner and President of Three Chairs Company, speaks with us about her experience in Girl Scouts and how it shaped her to be the woman she is today.

In this episode, you’ll hear:
– How her mother’s passion for camping inspired her own love for the outdoors
– How Girl Scouts contributed to her business sense
– Why Girl Scouts, as a girl-led program, is crucial and relevant today

Listen now to hear the inspirational story of Susan and her Girl Scout Experience.

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Episode 3 – Sara Reedy

Sara Reedy is the Area Manager for Holt, Michigan; in this volunteer role, she provides support to leaders throughout her community. She is also a troop leader for both of her daughter’s troops.

In this podcast, you’ll learn:
– The importance of keeping things girl led
– The excitement her Daises experienced while camping
– How Girl Scouting showed her the importance of self-care
– The ways in which anyone can make a profound impact on the girls in our world

Tune in to learn about the magic of Girl Scouting, from the volunteer perspective!

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Episode 4 – Miranda Goodison

Miranda Goodison is a junior in high school AND a sophomore in college, with a head start on her career – a career she discovered in Girl Scouting!

In this episode, you’ll learn:
– How girls can shape their own individual Girl Scout experiences as Juliettes
– How Miranda found and began her career because of a Girl Scout field trip
– How Miranda is promoting STEM learning opportunities in her community while completing the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting
– Miranda’s perspective on why all girls should make Girl Scouting a priority in their lives.

Tune in for all this and more!

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Episode 5 – Ellie Mrak

Ellie Mrak is a junior in high school who is changing the world one small (and some large) act at a time. Throughout her Girl Scout experience, she has exhibited a passion for giving back to her community, and has plans in the works to impact the nation at large.

In this episode, you’ll hear:
– Ellie’s experience in a multi-generational Girl Scout family and the values she’s learned as a result
– The ease and importance of giving back in small and large ways
– The project she’s working on to build a national monument in Washington, D.C.
– How Girl Scouts showed Ellie that she can change the world

Listen now to hear this motivated and inspirational girl tell her story!

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Episode 6 – Josh Gettig

Josh Gettig, a business owner in the Kalamazoo Region, joins this episode to share his perspective as a dad to two Girl Scouts, a husband to a Girl Scout leader, and a member of GSHOM’s Board of Trustees.

In this episode, you will hear:
– Josh’s experience at our annual Girl Scout Cookie Bake-Off
– The transformation that he has seen in his wife and daughters while being involved in Girl Scouts
– How his daughter held his wife accountable to Girl Scout principles while on vacation
– Why Girl Scouts is so important for girls today

Listen for these and even more stories from Josh’s point of view!

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Episode 7 – Samantha McKenzie

Samantha McKenzie is a Girl Scout alumna who is the President and CEO of Hidden Harvest Food Bank in Saginaw, Michigan, an organization dedicated to alleviating hunger and eliminating food waste in the region.

In this episode, you’ll learn about:
– How Hidden Harvest uses resources wisely and makes the world a better place
– Samantha’s Girl Scout experience that provided her first experience with grant writing, and taught her the power of the pen
– How Girl Scout values have been integrated into her family life

Listen to the episode today to hear how this Girl Scout Alum is changing the world!

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Episode 8 – Kimberly Carter

Kimberly Carter, B. S., M.A.Ed., Ed.S., is the superintendent of Battle Creek Public Schools, as well as a Girl Scout alumna. In this episode, she describes how being involved in Girl Scouts while being raised in a single-parent household was a game-changer for her, allowing her opportunities that she may not have otherwise experienced due to her cirucmstances.

In this episode, Kim will share:
– Her passion for helping children have access to quality education and experiential learning opportunities
– The importance of sowing seeds of success in the lives of children, as people have done for you
– How Girl Scouts built resilience in her and showed her that there is power within her to make the world a better place

Tune in to hear Kim’s stories of Girl Scouting changing her life!

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Episode 9 – Liberty Torrence

Liberty Torrence is a Girl Scout alum, a mom to two Girl Scouts, and a troop leader for both of her daughters’ troops. She has a unique perspective on Girl Scouting since she gets to see the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in action for two different age groups at once, watching her daughters progress through the program while developing lifelong friendships and sharing life-changing experiences.

In this episode, Liberty shares:
– The GS memories she has from her childhood that inspired her to provide the same opportunities for her daughters
– How being involved in Girl Scouts as a volunteer has strengthened the relationships she has with both of her daughters
– A story about the time her girls found courage and confidence through rock-climbing
– Her perspective on how Girl Scouts has evolved to meet the changing needs of girls today
– The most rewarding aspects of being a Girl Scout leader

Tune in to hear Liberty’s take on Girl Scouting!

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Episode 10 – Paula Stott

Paula Stott is a troop leader for her daughter’s Junior Troop based in Bath, Michigan. The troop is a troop that is very active, especially in terms of community service. Paula is a lifelong Girl Scout, having been involved as a girl, and with each of her daughters over the last nearly three decades.

In this episode, Paula shares:
– How Girl Scouts became a part of who she is
– Her experience progressing through multiple volunteer roles
– The behavior system her troop uses to help girls hold themselves and other accountable
– How her troop told their elected officials that bullying others, even in adulthood, is not acceptable
– The goods drive the troop conducted to give back to troops overseas

Tune in to hear all about Paula’s experiences and how Girl Scouts has made a difference in her life.

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Episode 11 – Sheri Jones

Sheri Jones, news anchor for the CBS-affiliate WLNS in Lansing, is a Girl Scout Alumna who has established herself as a trustworthy and decorated professional, as well as a dedicated philanthropist who deeply values giving back. Sheri, an alumna of Michigan State University, was recently inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was also honored with the Athena Award from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, the South Lansing Community Service Person of the Year, and the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. This is just a small glimpse at the recognitions that Sheri has earned for the work she has done for her community.

In this episode, you’ll hear about:
• Sheri’s journey to being the first female on the crime beat and her extremely successful Crime Stoppers segment
• Her dedication to service over self and giving back to the community that she loves
• The importance of setting goals and a “sky’s the limit” mentality

Listen to hear first hand from Sheri about why Girl Scouts is crucial for girls today, as well as for our communities at large.
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Episode 12 – Amanda Harsh

Amanda Harsh is a Gold Award Girl Scout who became a Leader for her daughter’s troop before becoming the Area Manager for Heart of Lenawee. Amanda is passionate about Girl Scouts and has made great strides as the Area Manager.
In this episode, you will learn:
• How the Heart of Lenawee area successfully brings people together, adding another layer to the Girl Scout Experience
• Amanda’s perspective on how leaders learn, experiment, and grow alongside the girls
• What it’s like to lead a troop with multiple levels in it
Tune in to hear all of this and so much more!

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Season 2
Episode 13: Audrey Reynolds

Audrey Reynolds is the Outdoor Program Team Lead and the Director of Camp Linden.  In 2019, it’s more important than ever that girls have the chance to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.

In this episode, Audrey, a lifelong Girl Scout and camp aficionado, explains:

  • How Girl Scout camp helps girls build invaluable social skills
  • The importance of the “in-between” moments
  • How Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan makes Girl Scout Camp girl-led.

Have questions about camp? Listen to this podcast, and reach out to Audrey (areynolds@gshom.org) for additional information. 

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Episode 14: Brittani Havenaar & Naomi Sarelis

Meet Wilson and Giggles – otherwise known as Brittani Havenaar and Naomi Sarelis.  These life-long campers are the Assistant Camp Directors at Camp Merrie Woode this summer.  The best part is that Brittani was once Naomi’s counselor; their relationship exemplifies the progression of leadership at Girl Scout camp, as well as the special relationships that develop between girls at camp.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How a girl can progress from being a 5-year old camper to a leadership role at camp
  • Why camp is so important for girls
  • The essential life skills that girls learn at camp

Tune in today to hear Brittani & Naomi’s wonderful experience at Girl Scout Camp throughout their lives!

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Episode 15: Cheryl Vosburg

Cheryl Vosburg is a long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, who has much wisdom to share about the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. She is currently the Area Manager for Marshall, Michigan, as well as the Troop Organizer, and a Trainer, instilling her knowledge into current volunteers for GSHOM.

In this episode, you’ll hear Cheryl’s take on Girl Scouts, including:

  • What she calls the “IFF Factor”
  • How the Broadway musical “Wicked” made a significant impact on her Girl Scout experience
  • The importance of flag etiquette and how it builds girls’ confidence

Tune in today to hear about all of this, and so much more!

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Episode 16: Maddie Rayner

Maddie Rayner is a Girl Scout Alumna and a Gold Award Girl Scout with a passion for making the world a better place.

Tune in to this episode to hear:

  • What Maddie learned throughout her years at Girl Scout Camp
  • How her Silver Award Project put Maddie in the national media spotlight
  • The lessons she learned from completing the Highest Awards

Listen today to learn all of this and more!

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Episode 17: Nancy & Heather Miller

Nancy and Heather Miller are a mother-daughter, lifetime Girl Scout duo from Freeland, Michigan. Nancy, having been a Girl Scout for 41 years, served as Heather’s Troop Leader, and both Millers live by the motto, “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.”

In this episode, Nancy and Heather share:

  • How a family passion turned into a bluebird sanctuary and Girl Scout Gold Award Project
  • The life-changing travel opportunities provided to them by their involvement in Girl Scouts
  • The benefits of intergenerational Girl Scouting from both the mother’s and daughter’s perspective
  • Why Girl Scouting provides somewhere for girls to be themselves and feel like they belong

Listen for these stories and feel the strength of a mother/daughter bond bolstered by Girl Scouting! 

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Mini-sode: Michigan Girl Scout Sing-Along 2019

The 2019 Michigan Girl Scout Sing-Along was held on April 27, 2019 on the front lawn of the Capital Building in Lansing, Michigan.  Girl Scouts from across the state attended, gathering together to sing Girl Scout songs and enjoy time together.

The event included an intermission with several activities, including SWAPS, crafting, the retail shop, and a booth commemorating Girls in Information & Communication Technology Day, which is also in April.  At this booth, girls had the opportunity to use our podcast equipment and discuss all the ways in which technology is part of their lives.

Tune in to hear some snippets from girls of all ages, on why they love Girl Scouts and how fun the Sing-Along was! 

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Episode 18: Chelsea & Mikayla Flores

Mikayla Flores, of Adrian, MI, is a second grade Brownie who sold over 2200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies as a Daisy.  She has big goals again this year, and the determination and tenacity to achieve that and so much more.

Listen to this episode with Mikayla and her mom, Chelsea, to learn:

  • Mikayla’s sales pitch and why it works
  • Why Mikayla loves selling Girl Scout Cookies (hint: their yumminess is only part of it!)
  • What it has been like for Chelsea to watch Mikayla grow in Girl Scouting

You don’t want to miss this episode!

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Episode 19: Chris Holbert

Chris Holbert is a volunteer who has been involved in Girl Scouts for ten years.  Starting off her Girl Scout experience in Arizona at the age of 35, Chris eventually moved to Michigan and continued on as a leader for her daughter’s troop.

Listen in to hear about Chris’s experiences and learn:

  • What “girl-led” looks like for a Brownie compared to a Senior
  • How camping with a troop becomes an opportunity to relax
  • What it’s like to volunteer when you weren’t a Girl Scout growing up

Listen today to hear all of this, and so much more!

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Episode 20: Christina Medina & Troop 30460

What does it take to work second shift full-time while caring for your family and leading your daughter’s Girl Scout troop? Christina Medina will tell you that it can be challenging, but that the challenge is beyond worth it.  Christina is the troop leader for her daughter Isabel’s Cadette Troop in our Lansing region. This episode is a special one that was recorded over two sessions; the first part at their troop meeting in November, and the second part with Christina and Isabel over winter break.

Tune into this episode to hear from both Christina and her girls about:

  • How the troop saved her life on a trip to Mackinac Island
  • The troop’s passion for animals and giving back to the community
  • Why these Cadettes love Girl Scouts
  • How a troop can be “girl-led”

Listen to hear all this and more!

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Episode 21: Colleen Dawson

Colleen Dawson, President of the Women’s Council of Realtors in Kalamazoo, is a Girl Scout alumna, former Troop Leader, and current Girl Scout Cookie Bake-Off Benefit Committee Member. During her time as a Girl Scout leader, she was amazed by the adventures and new experiences she had with her troop.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How becoming a troop leader helped her bond with her step-daughter
  • The memories with her troop that she still laughs about today
  • The special friendship she developed with her co-leader which she carries with her after her co-leader’s passing
  • How Girl Scouts taught her that she is capable of doing anything.

Tune in today to hear all of this and more! 

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Episode 22: Mandy Orlando

Mandy Orlando is a first year Brownie Troop Leader from Watervliet, Michigan.  Join us in this episode as she shares why Girl Scouting is such an important part of her life.

Listen today to hear:

  • How Girl Scouts has become an irreplaceable part of her family life
  • Her perspective on the important work of Girl Scouting
  • How she works to instill the Girl Scout Promise and Law while having fun with her girls.

Tune in to hear all of this and so much more!


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Episode 23: Renee Svetic

Renee Svetic is a life-long Girl Scout who truly bleeds green and white.  She is a Junior Leader from Freeland, who also volunteers with her Area.

Listen into Renee’s episode to get a glimpse into:

  • The very special experience that is Mackinaw Island Honor Guard
  • Taking girls to camp and dealing with girls who have different personalities
  • Why it’s important to let girls experience new things and take risks in a safe environment

Tune in for this and so much more! 


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Episode 24: Ricarah Riddle

Ricarah Riddle is a Girl Scout Alumna and Gold Award Girl Scout who has truly made an impact in her community to make the world a better place using her passions for social justice, youth development, sustainability, and holistic healing arts.

Listen today to hear:

  • Ricarah’s journey to success and how Girl Scouts impacted that
  • How music and art have been healing for her
  • The documentary she created for her Gold Award

You’ll learn about all of this and so much more – tune in today! 


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Special Edition Episodes
Special Edition Episode: Mackinac Island Honor Guard - Part 1

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is proud to have two Mackinac Island Honor Guard Troops that serve on Mackinac Island each summer: Troop 609 and Troop 7901. In this first episode of a two-part series, join us as we hear from the adult leadership of both troops about what the program is and why it is such an incredible, girl-led opportunity for girls.

For more information about the Mackinac Island Honor Guard Troops in Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, or to view the applications, please visit the Mackinac Island Honor Guard page on our website.

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Special Edition Episode: Mackinac Island Honor Guard - Part 2

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is proud to have two Mackinac Island Honor Guard Troops that serve on Mackinac Island each summer: Troop 609 and Troop 7901. In this first episode of a two-part series, join us as we hear from the adult leadership of both troops about what the program is and why it is such an incredible, girl-led opportunity for girls.

For more information about the Mackinac Island Honor Guard Troops in Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, or to view the applications, please visit the Mackinac Island Honor Guard page on our website.

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Let us know what you'd like to hear for our next season by emailing our Communications Manager, Brenna Smith at bsmith@gshom.org.