The YWCA of Darien and Norwalk recently announced their honorees for the 2020 Women of Distinction. The Darien Times is partnering with the YWCA to share the reasons they’ve received this honor. A luncheon is expected to honor them in the fall.

Susie Flaherty epitomizes what it means to love and care for your community. Born and raised in Darien, Susie, and her fellow Darienite husband Craig, have chosen to remain in town and raise their sons, Pace and Wade, here. After graduating college, Susie became a special education teacher in the Darien Public Schools, helping our kids reach their maximum potential.

While her children were at Holmes Elementary, Susie became co-chair for education for the Darien Environmental Group, where she updated and designed program materials to bring environmental awareness to children in grades K-5 and brought her love of working with children to this effort. As chairman of the Holmes School Green Team, Susie brought in parent volunteers to educate the students and help them with their recycling efforts.

But what Susie is most notable for is her work with Boy Scouts. When Susie’s sons crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, her adventurous spirit drove her to join them. She dove in, wore the uniform, went camping and became a fixture with Troop 53. When Scouts BSA opened their programs to girls, Susie was the natural choice to lead Troop 219, which was launched in November of 2018 with six girls. That number quickly doubled and continues to grow.

Under Susie’s leadership, these girls have broken down barriers that stood for over 100 years and notched up a series of firsts. They are the first girls at a Court of Honor achieving rank and earning merit badges; the first girls to earn the rifle merit badge; the first BSA girls to march in the Memorial Day parade; the first girls to be a part of the BSA summer camp. The troop is very close to presenting their first female for the rank of Eagle Scout. All of this was possible with Susie empowering these young women, because she saw the brave, intrepid young women they are and supporting them in achieving their goals.

While all of these firsts and accomplishments are important, what is even more important in Scouting is character development and values-based leadership development. Through her own example and leadership, Susie is teaching these female scouts how to be brave, take calculated risks, go outside of their comfort zone and find their own power while still being true to themselves. Anyone that knows Susie and her sharp wit, keen intellect and irresistible smile knows that she is all of these and more.

It the YWCAs privilege to honor Susie Flaherty as a 2020 Women of Distinction