Area Girl Scouts receive high honor

A number of local Girl Scouts have secured the highest and most prestigious award the organization offers and were recently recognized for their commitment, community compassion and dedication.Of the 34 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients honored in front of about 400 attendees at a June ceremony at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, eight hail from North Pinellas or West Pasco."It's a fantastic celebration of these girls' achievements," said Jennifer Medeiros, public relations and media manager for the Girls Scouts of West Central Florida. "It really shows the culmination of the Girl Scout leadership experience."According to a press release, the Gold Award "recognizes girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects."Girls earning the Gold Award must complete their projects individually while putting in a minimum of 80 hours - a number typically exceeded, Medeiros said. This year's 34 recipients provided more than 3,200 hours of service toward project completion.This year Scouts completed projects that included advocating for math education to improve standardized test scores, educating people about the damaging effects of water pollution and creating a structured swimming lesson plan to teach intellectually disabled adults how to swim.Local recipients of this year's Gold Awards, along with their home towns and project names, were: Kelsi Meliah-Zona, Crystal Beach, "Self-Guided Tour of Crystal Beach"; Sarah Garrison, Dunedin, "Dealing with Feelings"; Ashley Hilbert, Palm Harbor, "Teens Helping Teens"; Emma Jones, Palm Harbor, "For the Love of Pit Bulls"; Brianna Smyth, Palm Harbor, "Be Prepared: Fire Safety"; Ashley Klein, Tarpon Springs, "Breaking Free: Butterfly Gardening"; and Amanda Beckman, New Port Richey, "Little Maestros."
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