By Steve Sears
Claudia Ciasullo, Leader of Junior Girl Scout Troop #96218 of Florham Park and mom to member, Emma, speaks to the continuity and sisterhood of the group.
“Over the years it’s always been a troop of 14, and 90% of the group has been together since kindergarten.” That group of dedicated girls is Olivia Franco, Francesca DeFillippes, Juliana Piano, Maria Adesso, Tessa Olivieri, Stella Roberts, Camryn Sward, Maeve Flaherty, Bella Rossi, Emma Ciasullo, Tory Henning, Megan Murphy, Chloe Mazzarella, and Katie Paige. “These girls started together as Daisies, and they were little in kindergarten, some were only 5 and 6 years old. It really stared to teach them what Girl Scouts is about and how to be sisters. That’s the whole motto of being Girl Scouts, that you’re sisters to each other even though you’re not related by blood, but you’re related in this community and sisterhood. They’re friends, they’re a wonderful group of girls. As they grew together, they stayed together. I keep saying, ‘This might be the last year,’ and they get upset about it because they just love being together and doing these things.”
The girls especially love when they do service projects when they’re helping people. “My troop truly enjoys doing services for other people. That’s what they like to do,” Ciasullo adds.
One such event that the 4th graders took part in was Friday evening, March 22. Lovingly called the “Pizza Making Sundae Special” by Ciasullo, the group met at Madison’s new ice cream shoppe, Main Freeze, to make their own pizza and ice cream sundaes as part of helping to get the word out about the new establishment. “We were there for about an hour and a half,” says Ciasullo. “When our pizzas were done baking, we were able to enjoy our creations and box any of our leftovers to enjoy later on. Then we each had a choice of a scoop of ice cream or soft serve and then we had several toppings available at our table to top our ice cream. They even had Vegan ice cream available. Each girl was creative and made delicious sundaes with all the different toppings including cereal toppings which was a sweet added twist to the regular ice cream toppings and the girls loved the many different toppings.”
Ciasullo’s family has frequented Main Street Subs, and one evening her husband and daughter were inside getting dinner. The proprietors were telling both how they were planning on opening up an ice cream section of the store. Another Troop mom, Co-leader Denise Adesso, randomly mentioned to Ciasullo about the ice cream store opening, and that the store wanted to have girl scouts there because they were going to be making pizza and visiting the ice cream bar. “And that’s right up my girls’ alley,” thought Ciasullo. “They’re social butterflies. They love being together and eating, and doing these fun things together. We continue to do community service projects around the area and learn about different businesses.”
Upon arrival, each Girl Scout had a place set for them at the long table where they were able to all sit together. Each girl had a freshly baked pizza pie crust in front of them with a bowl of delicious sauce, shredded cheese and pepperoni slices for an extra topping if desired. Each girl used the provided utensils to make their own pizzas. “We thank Jeannie for inviting us to her new Main Freeze Ice Cream Parlor & Cereal Bar,” says Ciasullo.
Jeannie is Main Freeze owner Jeannie Artigliere. “I loved loved loved having the girls there. It was so amazing to see how excited they were to make their own pizzas and sundaes. They were so excited that they started eating their pizzas before they even got cooked!” She then adds, “I do plan on working again with the troop. I plan on creating different events that would go along with their badges. That way each time they come it would be a different experience.”
Ciasullo says the afternoon was a success. “This troop is a hands-on troop. They are independent and strong, so they were so excited to be in charge and create their own pizza to their liking and they knew exactly what to do. They are all so smart and funny and love being together especially when we can all eat together and have fun conversations together.”
Ciasullo also says that, since the event took place on a main road (Route 124), passersby also took interest. “In addition to pizza and ice cream, Main Street Subs is also a busy popular deli so there were many customers coming in and they were admiring how our troop was making their own pizzas and then their own sundaes after we had our pizza. Main Freeze is a new addition to Main Street Subs, so I was talking to a few of the patrons that were asking me if we were girls scouts and what we were doing there. I was sure the tell them we were there to help spread the word about Main Freeze and our most gracious host Jeannie Artigliere.”
Artigliere explains the Main Freeze concept. “Main Freeze is your old-fashioned ice cream parlor with a twist (errr…maybe I should say swirl!). You can come in with your grandmother and get her favorite hot fudge sundae or an egg cream (milkshake with seltzer) then your children can get their ice cream swirled and blended with their favorite cereal. Or you can just get a bowl of cereal!! We currently have 14 signature swirls. Michael (my fiancé and self-proclaimed “BlendMaster”) is the one behind majority of our signature swirls. Our most popular is C is for Cindy (named after my mom) & The Cereal Killer. Both of those were created by me. We are always ready to try anything new and welcome the community to submit ideas for their favorite swirl or sundae combinations to expand our menu.”
Artigliere and Main Freeze, who enjoy doing parties and would love to have more events and parties at their location, also offers a very special something. “We are very excited to share with the customers our Roots Frozen Dessert. It’s derived from coconut milk and all flavors are completely plant based, dairy free, gluten free, and Vegan friendly and is made in New Jersey. We are the first ice cream parlor in Morris County to provide this frozen dessert to the masses. We also make ice cream pies, saucers, gluten free cookie sandwiches & have a few more things up our sleeves for the months ahead.”
In addition to their school work and their extracurricular activities, Junior Girl Scout Troop 96218 also does charitable works during the year. Each year they participate in the Thanksgiving food drive which is coordinated by the Florham Park PTA. All three schools collect food donations for the food pantry at Holy Family Parish. “Our Girl Scout troop then sorts all the food and stocks the pantry so that families can go shopping for their Thanksgiving meals,” says Ciasullo. Other service projects include making fleece blankets for children in the hospital, where the girls prepared supplies to make sleeping mats for the homeless and learned about the Seeing Eye Dog Program in Morristown and helped with a pet supply donation. “We had a first aid lesson to learn how to care for wounds and made our own first aid kits and recently learned about CPR and first aid at the Florham Park First Aid squad house.” In December, the troop made arrangements to sing Christmas carols at the assisted living and each girl made several snowflake ornaments so that each resident had ornaments to hang on their door or to put in their rooms. “We also assist the PTA with fun night events for the younger grade levels.”
In addition to the service projects, Ciasullo’s goal is to have the girls meet once a month, sometimes twice. “Our Girl Scout year starts in October and pretty much ends in June because it’s more or less just through the school year.” Mommy & Me activities are planned for April, and in May would be a special day for girls and their dads. “We try to keep it close knit and do social-type events. That’s the way my troop is, they like to do things like that.”
Also, the young ladies would again enjoy events of the Main Freeze type. “Absolutely!” exclaims Ciasullo. “My troop loves these types of events and they enjoy their time together. We typically have snacks at all of our meetings, so they enjoyed being able to eat what they made. We are a large troop, so we had a great time with Jeannie who was so kind and accommodating to all of our girls. We will definitely go there again, and we highly recommend Main Freeze to everyone. We are looking forward to the warmer weather, so we can enjoy our sweet treats in their outside seating area. The staff was so accommodating and friendly and Jeannie takes great pride in her business and we know her store will be the popular place to go to for great ice cream and a fun time!”
“It’s a wonderful troop, they’re good girls, and they’re good to each other, which always makes me happy. They always take care of each other.”