Local Girl Scouts obtain organization's highest award
by Sherrie Norris
Hanna Reeves, Savanah Stone and Kathryn Wheeler, all of Boone, and Jerrilynn Story of Blowing Rock were among 76 scouts in the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont region to receive the honor earlier this month.
Nationally, only about 56 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the award, said Lisa Crawford, vice president of marketing and communications at the regional office of Girl Scouts in Hickory.
The Gold Award project is the culmination of a girl's demonstration of self-discipline, leadership ability, time management, creativity, initiative and a significant mastery of skills.
Achieving the honor takes commitment and dedication -- and a minimum of 80 hours of service per girl, according to Crawford.
"These young women each saw needs or issues that required attention," said Marcia Cole, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont. "They were inspired to be leaders of change and their projects show their compassion and commitment to make a positive difference for all ages in our communities."
Reeves, daughter of Butch and Annette Reeves and a member of Troop 10853, developed a children's area in the Watauga County Humane Society to help educate children on improving the lives of animals. Her goal is to help children learn the importance of animal adoption and care.
Stone, daughter of Clay and Laura Stone, and a member of Troop 10853, completed the project, "Youth Ignited." The project addressed the issue of area churches being separated and divided in their work in the community, instead of working together.
Story, daughter of Terry and Marsha Story, and a member of Troop 10514, worked in partnership with Safe Kids to address bicycle safety in the community and at Appalachian State University. She implemented a campaign to teach children about wearing helmets the proper way and safety while riding their bikes. She taught college students about local town ordinances involving bikes and how to be safe.
Kathryn Wheeler, daughter of Dale and Marilou Wheeler, and a member of Troop 10514, promoted water quality education throughout her community through activities she led at Watauga County Public Library and with Watauga County Parks and Recreation. She also organized a cleanup of Kraut Creek and encouraged people to use reusable grocery bags. She compiled a booklet of activities that teachers and parents can use to teach their children about proper environmental awareness. Last summer, she visited China where she interviewed people for her project.
Other Gold Award projects completed by other scouts included an event for those with physical limitations to ride horses; food and book drives; the collection and distribution of receiving blankets for a neonatal unit. The scouts also launched an awareness campaign to address issues such as distracted driving, which includes texting or talking on the phone, seatbelt safety, speed limit restrictions and driving while under the influence.
According to the Girl Scouts regional office, many colleges look at the Gold Award as an important criterion for college admission, financial assistance, and scholarships.
Wearing a pin that symbolizes the award indicates that the recipient has not only set a goal, but has also worked to reach that goal and then gone beyond.