In completing a significant community service project titled, “Child Abduction Prevention-Playground Picnic Area,” Chaney Merritt, of Stuart, earned the Gold Award, the highest achievement given by Girl Scouts of the USA.
Merritt grew up visiting DeHart Park in Stuart many times as a child and noticed there was little to no seating at the park. She noticed that many parents had to walk far away from the playground in order to find seating; leaving their kids out-of-sight. To ensure child safety, she constructed a brick patio with two adult-sized and two child-sized picnic tables.
“This project has allowed me to grow tremendously as a leader,” Merritt said of her project experience. “I hope to become a teacher in the near future, and this project allowed me to get my feet wet. I was able to instruct my fellow classmates throughout the project and gained basic knowledge of leadership.”
Merritt thanked those who mentored and helped her with this project: Pine Hall Brick and J & P Contractors (for their donations of materials); Wendell Terry (Patrick County High School Horticulture Dept.); and her fellow Patrick County High School classmates who helped with the project — Lathan Hall, Jacob Kisamore, Gavin Worley, Jared Lawson, Dylan Phillips, Hanna Quesinberry, Lindsey Harris, and Julia Biggs.
Achieving the Gold Award takes true commitment and dedication. The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA. Only 5.4 percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award.
Gold Award Girl Scouts are recipients of one of the most prestigious awards in the world for girls. By the time they put the final touches on their seven-step community service projects, they’ll have addressed a significant problem in their community—not only in the short-term, but with a plan to sustain the work for years into the future. They’re also eligible for college scholarships and to enter the military one rank higher than non-Gold Award Girl Scouts.