B y Jaime Thomas
Culminating over 80 hours of leadership and more than nine years as a Girl Scout, Rebecca Clauder, of Hartford, recently attained her Gold Award.
The 19-year-old college student is among 5 to 6 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide to achieve the organization’s highest honor, in addition to receiving the Silver and Bronze awards.
To get her award, Clauder spent months researching and creating a resource website that guides locals in helping wild animals they come across.
“People don’t always know rules. For example, birds learn to fly from the ground up. When they want to help, people might actually be harming animals. There’s a lack of knowledge in the subject, and that causes a lot of problems in the animals,” she said. To make the site she had to recruit help and also self teach.
Her achievement is more than just an award though. She said one of the hardest parts of earning it was determination and self-discipline, two traits her leader Tami Clark sees in her.
“She’s very independent, very strong, very smart, very motivated and very driven. There’s not a doubt in my mind that whatever she wants to do, she will do. I can’t picture a better person suited to get the Gold Award than Rebecca,” Clark said.
Though Clark said the young woman was timid when she first entered the troop, she quickly found her niche.
“It didn’t take long till she became a true leader. She’s a natural-born leader. The other girls always liked her ideas. When she got older she got better at focusing everyone’s attention,” Clark said.
Clauder sees the purpose of Girl Scouts as helping the community and growing as a person.
“Girl Scouts has allowed me to grow into how I am. It helps you have a basic set of morals and leadership skills. I can recognize in other Girl Scouts that they have manners, they’re open, and they’re kind and willing to accept others,” she said. “It has allowed me to understand when to use professional mannerisms and to improve leadership abilities, and it definitely made me able to speak up for what I believe.”
She said strong family support also contributed to her success in and out of Girl Scouts.
“My family was behind me the whole way. I don’t think I would’ve completed it without Tami and my whole family,” Clauder said.
Clauder, who is taking pre-veterinary courses at SUNY Cobleskill, has recently become a lifetime Girl Scout.
“I think Rebecca is honestly one of the strongest and smartest young women I know. I’m very proud to have had a part in her journey through Girl Scouts, and I’ll be very proud to see what she continues to do,” Clark said.