Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Projects give these girls golden opportunities

Scouts serve community while earning awards

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Photo courtesy of Ilene Weiss
Heather Weiss, 18, of Rockville High School is shown working on the mural she created for her school to earn her Gold Award, the highest in Girl Scouts.
The singer holds her choir book proudly, belting a song as she overlooks the orchestra being conducted down below. The image is one that Heather Weiss, 18, loves and passed down to the students of Rockville High School through her mural, earning her the Gold Award, the highest award available in Girl Scouts.

Weiss was just one of some dozen Girl Scouts who earned awards at a recognition ceremony held by the Montgomery County Girl Scouts on April 26. The awards distributed include the Silver Trefoil, Silver Award and Gold Award, each of which recognizes a higher level of community service.

The Silver Trefoil recognizes those who have devoted at least 25 service hours to the international community, 25 to the government, 15 which must be federal, and 50 to the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.

Silver Spring resident Julia Lynn, 18, received the Silver Trefoil after completing a number of different service hours. For her international hours she helped organize the international day held at Washington International School, from where she is a recent graduate, and for her Girl Scout hours, she taught orphans in Mexico about hygiene. However, her favorite volunteer work was as a congressional aide for U.S. Rep. Donna Christensen, a Democrat and delegate for the Virgin Islands. ‘‘I didn’t know much about the government and I got to see many different areas of the Capitol like the underground tunnel, and I got to know government workers. It was a great privilege,” Lynn said.

The Silver Award, the next highest award, requires the recipient to earn a number of specified patches and complete a Silver Project. A Silver Project is a four-step plan personally developed to help others. The effort should accumulate to 30 hours of commitment with a final event of seven hours.

The Gold Award, the highest honor, requires a Girl Scout to earn a large collection of specified pins and patches and complete a Gold Project. A Gold Project has her spend at least 50 hours of service completing a project in an area she is interested in.

For Weiss, the interest was art. ‘‘The reason I came up with the idea was because I wanted to be recognized for my artistic abilities and so that art and music could be inspired at the school,” Weiss said.

Other outstanding Gold projects included a computer skills class for senior citizens, a bilingual parent resource center for Viers Mill Elementary school and a fashion show for the Montgomery County Teen MOMS program.

The graduating seniors were also honored at the ceremony.