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Pure gold - Local Girl Scout wins prestigious award
052008 GIRL SCOUT 1
Southeast Bulloch High School senior Ashlyn Reed won the prestigious Girl Scout Gold award for two canoes she built for the Joseph's Home for Boys.
    On May 4, the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia awarded four teens with the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award during an awards ceremony at the Elks Lodge #183. One of these awards was given to Statesboro resident Ashlin Reid.
    Ashlin, daughter of David and Vickie Reid, is a 17-year-old senior who recently graduated with honors from Southeast Bulloch High School. Her project was entitled “Canoes for Joseph’s Home for Boys.” She wanted the boys at the home to have a fun and safe outdoor activity, so she built and painted two canoes — one for the younger group of boys and one for the older group. She also created a canoe instruction and safety manual to accompany the canoes.
    “My brothers built canoes with their Boy Scout troop. I just thought it was a really neat idea,” said Reid. “I wanted the boys to use the canoes on the weekends and on their summer trips. Plus, it’s also a fun way for them to get exercise.”
    The Gold Award is the highest award that can be obtained in Girl Scouts. The prestigious award recognizes the hard work of a Senior Girl Scout who achieves outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service, career planning and personal development. Aside from earning numerous merit badges to be eligible for the award, a minimum of 50 hours planning and implementing the project is required and it must have a positive and lasting impact on the community.
    Diana McDaniel works at Georgia Southern Bursar’s Office and was Ashlin’s girl scout project adviser. She had high praise for Ashlin and her accomplishments.
    “She’s one of the nicest young ladies you’ll ever meet and I think she’s a natural born volunteer,” said McDaniel.
    Ashlin spent about 2 1/2 months on the canoes, putting in an hour most nights working on them. Her mom said she was very dedicated to finishing the project.
    “I told her she picked the coldest month of the year to build these things,” said Vickie. “I’d have to run her inside the house — she’d be out there at 11 o’clock at night in the freezing weather.”
    Tara Panzo is the public relations director for the Girl Scout Savannah Council, which oversees more than 4,000 girls in 28 Georgia and South Carolina counties. She is proud of any scout who sticks it out and achieves the gold award.
    “These girls work so hard and so long, sometimes over a year,” said Panzo.
    “I thought Ashlin’s project was so creative. We haven’t seen something like that in the last few years.”
    “People look at this award with such respect — it’s a lot of work, but those that stick through it are so impressive,” said Panzo.
    Ashlin has been in Girl Scouts for 13 years, since she was in kindergarten and in the Daisy program.
    “Girl Scouts is such a fun organization. It gives you so many opportunities,” said Ashlin. “I went to a national conference in Atlanta and it was girls from all over the country. I love camping, kayaking down the river — it’s just so much fun.”
    As she got older, Ashlin decided to become independent as her fellow scouts left the troop and got caught up in middle and high school activities. She became a Juliet — a Girl Scout not affiliated with a particular troop — in order to continue participating in scouts. Her mom said this didn’t prevent Ashlin from staying active.
    “After she became a Juliet, she pretty much did everything by herself and at her own speed,” said Ashlin’s mom.
    In the fall, Ashlin is planning on attending Georgia Southern University and majoring in chemistry. She excited about attending one the better programs in the country.
    “GSU has an amazing chemistry program ranked in the top 20 in the nation,” said Ashlin. “That was a big part of it.”
    When should a young girl get into scouting, Ashlin?
    “As soon as they can, especially if a girl can find a troop that caters to her interests. Mine did a lot of camping and all the outdoors stuff because all of our girls like those things,” said Ashlin.
    “They just teach you so many good skills like leadership and there are so many opportunities to learn and grow.
    “As soon as they can.”
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