Havre Daily News
After six years together and and 32 years of experience among them, three Havre girls will receive the Girl Scouts' highest award Tuesday.
Stephanie Heil, Alicia Walin and Becky Wynia, all 2005 Havre High School graduates, will hang up their sashes after a Gold Award ceremony honoring them for their years of hard work and dedication to scouting. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony in the Girl Scout house at 420 Fifth Ave. at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Both Wynia and Walin have been involved with the Girl Scouts in Havre for 13 years, since they were both in kindergarten. Heil joined six years ago on the advice of Wynia. The three of them make up Havre Girl Scout Senior Troop 225.
The Gold Award is equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouting, Wynia said. To earn the award, a Scout has to meet five requirements - earn the career exploration pin, the Senior Girl Scout Leadership Award, the Senior Girl Scout challenge and four project patches in topics related to the Gold Award project, and to organize and implement a Gold Award project. All in all, the girls have been plugging away at the five steps for two years.
The three began work on the final hurdle - to organize and put on a Gold Award project - in August of 2004. The girls decided to put on a free camp for kids who have had little experience with the great outdoors - something they've never had a shortage of.
"We decided it would be a good idea because some kids in the community don't have the opportunity to go camping," Heil said, "and we wanted to give them that chance."
In order for their project to pass muster, it had to be approved by the Girl Scouts of Big Sky Council in Great Falls, and each Scout had to put in at least 50 hours on the project.
Among them, they ended up dedicating 180 hours toward the final project.
They called their project Kamp 4 Kids, and put out fliers and applications around the community to get the word out. Besides all of the planning for the actual event, they also gathered donations from local businesses.
After almost a year of hard work and preparation, 17 kids ended up spending three days and two nights in June camping, canoeing, hiking, and fishing while staying at the Elks Campground with the girls and other staff.
Despite - or perhaps because of - the campers' relative inexperience, the trip turned out to be a pretty good time for everyone, Wynia said.
"They really had a lot of fun," she said. "They kept asking if we were going to do it again next year."
With all three going their separate ways after the summer, it doesn't look like that is going to happen. Heil will be moving to Ellendale, N.D., where she will attend Trinity Bible College. She plans to earn a double major in Bible studies and youth ministry, she said.
Walin plans to leave in the spring to join the U.S. Air Force.
Wynia will also head to North Dakota to attend Minot State University. She plans to pursue a degree in speech language pathology, and said she will try to be involved with Girl Scouts there.