It's the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, the Gold Award. It's the equivalent to the better known Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. According to the national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, only 5.4 percent of all Girl Scouts earn it. Girls spend 65 hours planning and carrying out their Gold Award projects, which have a positive and lasting impact on the community. Two Pasco County girls were among the 32 Scouts who recently earned the award. Here's a look at each girl and her project.
School: 2008 graduate of Hudson High.
Years in Scouting: 13.
Job: Lifeguard for Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department.
Sports and interests: Competitive swimming, track and field, marching band. She plays clarinet, bass clarinet, mellophone.
Plans: Attend Pasco-Hernando Community College, then transfer to the University of Central Florida to study accounting and Spanish.
Favorite Girl Scout cookie: Tagalongs, "because I like peanut butter."
Project: Mandy coordinated and led "Books for Kids," a program that involved collecting books to donate to Northwest Elementary School. She also read to the children and helped them write stories. The drive netted 267 books.
Biggest challenge: Sorting through each book to make sure it was in decent shape.
Payoff: Seeing the smiles on kids' faces as she read to them or listened to them read.
Hometown: Wesley Chapel.
School: Rising senior at Wesley Chapel High School.
Plans: Attend University of Florida or University of South Florida, become a pharmacist or train for another job in the medicine.
Years in Scouting: 12.
Jobs: Sonic, Texas Roadhouse restaurants.
Sports: Volleyball, lacrosse, hockey.
Favorite Girl Scout cookie: Samoas, "They have coconut and chocolate and caramel and all the good, gooey stuff."
Project: Designed and built a memorial garden at Wesley Chapel High to honor a large number of students who died in the past several years.
Biggest challenge: Cutting and laying the sod. "Sod weighs a lot."
Payoff: Helping her community. Also, the project became personal when friend Matthew Laidley was killed in a car crash in 2007. A tree was planted in his memory.
Lisa Buie can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 909-4604.