A senior at Central High School is working to earn the highest achievement offered by the Girl Scouts of America and will be holding a public event this weekend to reach that goal.
Aubrie Hart said the Gold Award is equivalent to the Eagle Scout award in Boy Scouts, with just as much work and preparation involved.
“It’s equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award for Boy Scouts,” Hart said. “There’s hardly any girls that achieve it — there’s about 25 percent of girls in Girl Scouts that get the award, I think. Eagle Scouts are always brought up, and a lot of people don’t think that Girl Scouts have a high award, but this is equivalent to that. Girls try to achieve it, but it’s rare.”
To earn the Gold Award, a girl scout must complete an 80-hour project of her choosing. In Hart’s case, that project is related to promoting safety and self-defense.
“It’s called ‘Be W.A.S.,’” she said, “which stands for ‘Be Wise, be Aware, be Safe.’ It was a three-week program. A few girls at the high school participated in a self-protection and personal safety course that was presented by local law enforcement officials. It taught self-defense, internet safety, the dangers of drinking and driving and things like that. This weekend is like the final hoorah of my project.”
That “final hoorah” will consist of a community safety fair on Saturday at Central High School, with presentations on self-defense and emergency response. The safety fair is open to the community and will be held at Central High School in Park Hills on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
“It’s going to be a small fair,” she said. “But that’s the whole point of a Gold Award project — that it’s supposed to be continual. So hopefully, after I go off to college somebody else can take it over.
“The fire department is going to try to come and we’ll have the Red Cross. Their representative has worked disasters on the front lines, so he’s going to come in and teach about that. Then we’ll have a group from up in the city called Teen CERT (Certified Emergency Response Team) that will teach CPR and promote the program itself because there isn’t a Teen CERT program in this area.”
She said while there won’t be law enforcement agencies present because of scheduling conflicts, there will be child I.D. kits with fingerprinting and photos taken, provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Hart said she chose safety and self-defense as a focus for her Gold Award because of her long-term plans.
“I want to be a law enforcement officer,” she said. “I enjoy helping people, and that’s what Girl Scouts has taught me — no matter what situation you’re in people are there to help you. And that’s what I’ve been encouraged to do all these years. This is just another step of who I am and who I’m going to be.”
According to the Girl Scouts of America’s website, a Gold Award project consists of seven steps: identify an issue, investigate it thoroughly, get help and build your team, create a plan, present your plan and gather feedback, take action and educate and inspire.
Hart said Girl Scouts are encouraged to select an issue that is either on the local, national or global scale, so most Gold Award projects look different and unique.
If Hart achieves her Gold Award, she will be the first Girl Scout from Central High School to achieve the distinction in five years. She said earning the award will have great benefits in terms of her college and professional career.
“We have a recognition ceremony that our council provides and we’ll be recognized in front of all the women at the council,” she said. “It’s a big ordeal. There are also scholarships and many other advantages involved.”