Jenna Brown, Lauren Edwards and Shelley Fairbanks reached the pinnacle of Girl Scouting Sunday as the trio received the Girl Scout Gold Award.
The ceremony looked back at the 13 years building up to the event as the trio receiving the award begins to look forward to the next stage of their lives post high school.
From pigtails to Pizza Hut to digging in the dirt, the slideshow traced back more than a decade to the third grade when each young woman started down the path to this achievement.
“It’s incredible the growth they have shown over the years and they’ve grown into beautiful women,” Girl Scout leader Diane Wescott said.
“It will be hard to see them go because this is the group of girls that has been there all the way through, so that if I needed someone to say something at a ceremony or do something they were always right there volunteering – that’s going to be missed,” she said.
More than 60 friends, family, fellow troop members and teachers gathered at the Methodist Church to congratulate Brown, Edwards and Fairbanks on their achievement.
As the slideshow revealed, the girls have come a long way from that first meeting so many years ago.
Those in the crowd were not the only ones struck by the passage of time.
“I’m surprised that I stuck with it over 13 years. When I went to my first meeting I did not expect (to like) it, Girl Scouts was just something my mom wanted me to do but then it evolved into something that I wanted to do,” senior Shelley Fairbanks said. “I really pride myself that I did it and stuck with it,” Fairbanks said.
Although the reactions varied each of the girls expressed just what they were supposed to get out of Girl Scouts – pride and a sense of accomplishment from a job well done.
“I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and proud of everything everyone else has done,” senior Lauren Edwards said.
“It’s very important to me, it’s taken a long time to get here, but it means a lot to me; there are a lot of good memories that remain,” senior Jenna Brown said.
Another senior, Alyssa Martel, finished just short of her Gold Award, but it was due to other academic commitments and not for lack of effort.
The highest achievement in Girl Scouts, the award is similar to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout.
Like their male counterparts, the Girl Scouts must also accomplish something big to cap their scouting careers.
Together Brown, Edwards and Fairbanks planned and executed the creation of the community garden for the Granville Ecumenical Food Pantry as their final project.
The trio put in countless hours of time to put together a garden which successfully contributed fresh vegetables to the food pantry including everything from zucchinis and squash to green and yellow beans and carrots.
The garden can still be seen on Bulkley Avenue near the St. Mary’s Church parsonage.
Brown said the trio want to keep the garden going and possibly hand it off to someone who’s willing to volunteer to maintain it so their work can continue to help those in need.
Revisiting all of those memories was an emotional experience for all; there were no shortage or dry eyes Sunday. “I think it moved me a lot more than I thought it was going to. I think being here and being around everyone made me see how much I’ve put into Girl Scouts all of the work and all of the dedication,” Edwards said.
“I think, going back, all of the leaders and all of the people do so much and you don’t look at it and you don’t see it as you’re doing it – I wish I’d thanked them more,” Edwards said.