Northwest NEWS

June 26, 2000

Valley Special

Sara Stevens

Girl Scout joins elite group of young women

   Sara Stevens of Carnation joined the ranks of an elite group of less than one percent of Girl Scouts by earning her Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. She was among 17 girls honored at a Young Women of Achievement ceremony at the Columbia Tower, where the girls were paired up with women mentors who have achieved notable professional distinction.

   The Gold Award symbolizes outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service, career planning, and personal development. Stevens' project focused on traffic safety in her community. Her project drew on her own experiences and ingenuity to serve her community in a practical and important way. The work done to earn the award builds character and gives girls skills for success in the real world, while helping them to grow both as a person and as a citizen.

   As a driver, Stevens noticed that many of the street signs in her community were partially hidden or in very bad repair. So, for her project, she surveyed street signs in the Lake Marcel community and coordinated volunteers to wash and report on the conditions of the signs. King County Department of Transportation supported her project by providing safety equipment. She worked with a crew of Girl and Boy Scout volunteers to document, scrape, and wash the signs. Stevens' documentation was sent to the county so the signs that they couldn't repair could be replaced.

   A plan for fulfilling the requirements of the award is created by the Girl Scout herself and is carried out in one to two years through a close partnership with an adult volunteer. Stevens' Gold Award project took a total of 51 hours to complete and is an extension and combination of all that she has learned through her Girl Scout experience, offering her new challenges and opportunities to build on skills she has received from being a Girl Scout.

   "The best part of my project was when I drove back through the streets we had worked on and I could see some of the signs clearly for the first time ever," Stevens said.

   Stevens is a member of Troop 166 and has been a Girl Scout for 11 years. She is the first Girl Scout in the Valley to earn a Gold Award.

   Stevens, a former student at Cedarcrest High School, is currently in the final weeks of U.S. Army Reserve Boot Camp. She will serve in the reserves one weekend a month. She is studying to be a dental hygienist, and perhaps later, a dentist.

   Girls who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award are eligible for a variety of scholarships to continue their education at over 100 colleges and universities. All branches of the United States military offer Girl Scout Gold Award recipients the opportunity to enter the military at the higher pay scale of E-2, the equivalent of already having 30 college credits.

   Girl Scouts is the world's pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls and serves over 3.5 million members nationwide. Through the many enriching experiences provided by Girl Scouts, girls grow courageous and strong, while building character and skills for success in the real world.

   Locally, Girl Scouts serves nearly 18,000 girls ages 5-17 in Northwest Washington, who have already discovered the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. For more information, call 1-800-767-6845.