By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News
When Zoe Runyon first put on her Girl Scout vest in the first grade, she had no idea she would still be involved at age 16, let alone receiving a prestigious award.
Runyon, who claims she was a very shy kid, so much so that going out to sell cookies and nuts was very difficult for her, received the Girl Scouts Gold Award recently.
Runyon was a Scout through her grade school, then her mom lead a troop of her and her sister during her middle-and high-school days. She said there was no troop for her to join, so they made their own.
According to the Girl Scout website, less than 6 percent of Scouts receive the gold award. The Mt. Pleasant Community High School senior says Scouts are still available for older girls, but not as popular, so they had to begin their own. Because the troop was made up of only her and her sister, they decieded to start helping younger troops with their goals.
?When I started to get older, I started to focus more on helping the younger girls,? she said. Runyon would attend meetings for younger girls to help them organize and work at achieving their own goals and earning badges. She said working with them inspired her to reach for achievements of her own. Before the gold award come the bronze and silver award, both of which she has already achieved.
For the bronze award, 20 hours of volunteer work and self-made workbooks on how to be a good Girl Scout are required. For silver, Scouts have to start a project and volunteer 60 hours and for gold they must start a project, spend 80 hours volunteering on it and find a way to have it last beyond them. ?Sustainability was a huge thing in this project,? she said.
For her bronze award, Runyon worked at the Hillsboro Library, helping to redo the labeling system. For her silver award, she started a Sunday school program for elementary-aged kids to have a place to be during church services. After achieving those two, she knew she couldn?t stop there. ?It was always in the back of my head that I wanted to do the gold award, but I never thought I would actually do it,? she said.
In December of 2017, Runyon got to work at the library, once again. She presented her idea of creating an online database for research assistance for elementary and middle school-aged kids to the Girl Scout board. After lots of questions and three months? worth of waiting, she was approved. She said she spent most of her Christmas break implementing the program and getting it ready for kids to use. The library had previously purchased the software and Runyon came in at the right time to help them get it up and going.
On June 1, Runyon was presented with the gold award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. She said she didn?t realize how big of a deal it was until her mom explained to her it is the equivilant of an Eagle Scout award. She says that being a Scout gave her new opportunities and learning experiences she couldn?t have gotten elsewhere and she encourages all girls to try, and to continue even after grade school. ?I think that being involved in Girl Scouts when you?re older is very important as well, because you have different opportunities such as scholarships or trainings you can use,? she said. ?You get a lot of volunteer experience and you get to spend a lot of time with younger girls to get them excited as well.?