Girl scouts earn gold award

Grace Donner, Photographer

Seniors Rachel LeMire, Anna Craggs, Abby Prunty, Kayley Winkelman and Lauren Lindahl share a special bond achieved through gracious actions for others.

These girls have been Girl Scouts together since the first grade. Last summer, they received their gold award for a community service project they had to do independently. Everything the girls have been doing as a troop since fifth grade, has been working up to this point and earning the gold award.

The girls have been working up to the gold award since they were fifth or sixth graders; everything they have done as a troop has lead to this.

“We just wanted to see this through until the end and we did and I was really proud of that to be honest,” LeMire said.

The girls have built a bond through their experiences and they now describe themselves as another family. They have grown as a troop and as friends through girl scouts and this journey towards their achievement is what has made these girls such great friends.

“They are all different girls, they have different interests and some different friends but they have this bond that holds them together as really good friends,” Anita Craggs, Anna’s mom, and the assistant troop leader and Gold Award advisor said.

Individually, from each project we learn different things, like for mine I had to learn how to budget, create a timeline and a curriculum, talk to adults, get funding, coordinate between people, delegate, and learn to adapt to different situations on the spot as things came up.”

— Kayley Winkleman

“We have known each other since first grade, some of us before then so we spend a lot of time together, we know each other really well and some of them are my best friends still to this day,” LeMire said.

To achieve the gold award, the girls first had to earn their silver and bronze award, which were for community service projects in the area. For the gold award, the girls had to do an 80-hour individual community service based sustainable project, which means the girls all had to commit if they wanted to achieve this as a troop.

Each girl had their own individual project to do. Anna Craggs created an art camp called Plants and Pastels held at Afton State Park. Prunty designed  and hosted a free week-long science camp for kids K-6 in the summer. Lindahl  built and set up birdhouses and LeMire put on a health based curriculum at day cares in the community.

“For my project I created an art curriculum and taught an art program at the West Seventh Community Center in St. Paul,” Winkleman said.

Since so much work is put into an award like this, the girls now have hard evidence of the hard work done. The experience learned, will stay with them through their adult life.

“Individually, from each project we learn different things, like for mine I had to learn how to budget, create a timeline and a curriculum, talk to adults, get funding, coordinate between people, delegate, and learn to adapt to different situations on the spot as things came up,” Winkleman said.

“It’s hard, it’s a lot of work, it’s a huge achievement. We have seen examples of because you have that award there’s a few doors that have opened up for them. It’s good on job resumes, college resumes, even in the military. A girl that has the gold award is the same as a boy with the Eagle Scout Award. They go in two grades higher than if you don’t have it, which means they get more pay just for having the gold award,” Anita Craggs said.

On top of their hard work, the girls also battled with the social aspect of sticking with girl scouts. It is a lot of work and a lot of time, but also as the girls explained it is not as exciting when you get older and there are a lot of other things they could have been doing.

“It’s difficult sometimes because of the stigma it gets because it’s not exactly the coolest thing to be doing, but we really wanted to do this from the beginning because it’s good for the community,” LeMire said.