Friday, April 18, 2008

Troop 676 paints, washes, plants, shovels, mulches … and sells cookies

Girl Scouts from Lake Providence church help Edison Elementary to earn Gold Awards By SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD (Tennessean)• April 18, 2008 ANTIOCH — The motto of Girl Scout Troop 676 is "Girl Scouts Do More than Sell Cookies." Several members of the troop, which meets at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church, recently demonstrated this with a community service project at Thomas A. Edison Elementary School. The project helped fulfill a requirement for the Gold Award, which is the highest honor a girl can receive in Girl Scouts. Only about one in every 25 Girl Scouts receives the honor. The project at Edison included planting shrubbery; painting a school portable; and painting the bases of all four of the school's portables, as well as their steps, landings and doors. The girls also washed the walls of the school's restrooms and shoveled three truckloads of mulch "equal to eight or nine residential lots" to place around trees on the school's grounds, said troop leader Paulette Allen. Caylor Haynes, a student at Antioch High School who participated, said they paid for some of the supplies out of pocket. The school provided the rest. Caylor said the experience taught her an important lesson about deadlines. Although it was cold when they worked, "we only had a short amount of time to get things done." Briana Brooks, who also attends Antioch High, said for her, it was a familiar environment. She likes to work outdoors, and she frequently helps her grandfather, George Brooks Sr., and father, George Brooks Jr., on various jobs. "They do landscaping, yard work and painting," she said. But for many of the girls, working outside was new, Caylor said. Briana said the experience helped build team spirit. "It helped us grow more and work together." Caylor said this was one of the greatest rewards of the whole experience, "getting to know the rest of my troop." She said she learned that she can work with others as a team. "I generally like to work alone, but I can work with others if I need to," she said. "Finishing the project and knowing we helped the community and the school" was also rewarding, said Briana. "I'm glad it's over, and I hope the kids enjoy the look of the school," said Caylor. Requirements for the Gold Award take about two years to complete and include three interest projects; earning a Career Challenge Award and a Leadership Award; and completing community service project totaling 65 hours. The girls' interest projects dealt with topics ranging from women's health and breast cancer to creative cooking and travel. The Scouts also had a reading list, which included titles such as Write Now, Got Money and College 101. The books focused on improving writing skills, money management and preparing for college, respectively. "There's an entire gamut of stuff they have to do," said Allen, adding she requires that she girls type all of their assignments to get them used to the college and professional environment. "I always tell my girls, 'If you want anything in life, you have to work hard for it,'" she said, adding this was the largest group of girls she has had yet to receive the Gold Award. "Also, you have to appreciate what you do," she said she tells them. "If it doesn't mean anything to you, it's not going to mean anything to anyone else." Edison's principal, Ronald Powe, said the work the girls did was of tremendous value to the school, and he's glad to be associated with Troop 676. "They enhanced the quality of the campus, . . . and they did it in adverse weather conditions," he said. "They showed tenacity and character by getting in there and staying with it."

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