The Times
  • Oczkowski: ‘I might not even be alive today if it wasn’t for Girl Scouts’

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  • At 12 years old, Elizabeth Oczkowski, from Utica, suffered from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa.
    Her mother was worried about her when her weight dropped to 80 pounds and the doctor was threatening to hospitalize her.
    A Girl Scout since age 7, Oczkowski has always loved Girl Scout camp, so her mom sent here there for four weeks that summer. The counselors were also concerned.
    “One of them said something to me during my second two-week session, Oczkowski said in a news release. “I don’t remember exactly what she said, but whatever it was, it cured me of my eating disorder! I can’t thank the counselors enough for what they did for me!”
    It is because of what she went through that she decided to select nursing as her college major at Syracuse University. After she graduated she worked in Baltimore, Md., and Syracuse as a registered nurse on an orthopedic floor, intensive care unit and post anesthesia care unit. She then went on to earn her master’s degree and become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and currently works in that field at Auburn Community Hospital.
    Through Girl Scouts, Oczkowski had has the opportunity to do a variety of things, such as attend Girl Scout camp — including a five-day canoe trip through the Fulton Chain of Lakes in Old Forge. She was accepted to two National Girl Scout Wider Opportunities — she went to the Girl Scout National Center West in Ten Sleep, Wyo., and went backpacking through the Bighorn National Forest and climbing Cloud Peak. She also went to Colorado Springs, Colo., where she climbed Pike’s Peak with Girl Scouts from around the country, visited the Air Force Academy and the Olympic training center facilities, and went horseback riding.
    Oczkowski also had the opportunity to travel with fellow local Girl Scouts to the 1940 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
    “I feel that Girl Scouting has allowed me to become the person that I am today,” she said. “It has given me the skills and tools to become a woman and leader of tomorrow. Girl Scouting has molded me and influenced my life greatly.”
    “I cannot imagine not being a Girl Scout,” Oczkowski said. “My life would have turned out so differently. I may not even be alive today if it wasn’t for Girl Scouts. All girls should say ‘yes’ to Girl Scouting!”
    To find out more information about becoming a Girl Scout visit www.gsnypenn.org.
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