By KAITLIN SMITH
In late May, nearly 70 Girl Scouts gathered at Great Bridge Presbyterian Church for an awards and bridging ceremony—an important transition in a Girl Scout’s life that marks a girl’s move from one leadership level to the next. These ceremonies are an exciting time for girls, as they are recognized for the awards that they have earned during the year, including the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting.
Girl Scouts in Great Bridge had a record number of girls bridge from Ambassadors to adults during their ceremony. Many of these 17 girls have been Girl Scouts since they were in kindergarten and continued to participate in the organization throughout their high school years for the unique opportunities they had, the strong friendships that they built and the leadership skills they gained.
In addition to being a Girl Scout troop leader for Troop 872, Michelle Klausmeier also leads outdoor adventure trips to take girls hiking, rock climbing and more. For many Girl Scouts in high school, the opportunities to participate in these trips are what kept them connected to Girl Scouts as they became more involved with other activities through the years.
As Girl Scouts, these young ladies have also left a lasting impact on the community through their volunteer work. Each girl who earned the Girl Scout Gold Award completed a minimum of 80 hours of community service to earn the award. They also participated in other service opportunities, such as setting up learning station in the children’s tent during the annual Battle of Great Bridge celebration.
Through the years these girls have been young entrepreneurs selling thousands of boxes of Girl Scout cookies, learned how to work as a part of a team through troop activities and also had the opportunity to step up and take a leadership role among one another and as role models for younger Girl Scouts. By bridging to adults and making the decision to continue to be a part of a Movement that has influenced most of their lives for 13 years, they will continue to be an inspiring and positive influence on the community—Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts alike.
“The values that the Girl Scouts hold have been instilled in me since kindergarten and have made me a better person,” Robin Smith, a member of Girl Scout Troop 872 who bridged to adults, said. “Girl Scouting has really shaped and molded my thoughts and morals, as well as my outlook on life, people and what I find important and fun.”
At the bridging ceremony, the Girl Scouts were addressed by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller who earned her Girl Scout Gold Award locally and is an inspiring leader and role model for girls today. Keller enjoys sharing in the successes and growth of girls as they participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which allows them to discover what they are capable of, connect with their community and take action to make a difference in the world.
About the Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, a United Way Agency, serves more than 16,000 girls in grades K through 12 and over 6,000 adult volunteers in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. For more information, visit gsccc.org or call 1-800-77SCOUT.
Girl Scout Ambassador and recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, Robin Smith, right, receives her Gold Award pin from her mother Jean Quiggle, left and troop leader and Gold Award project advisor Michelle Klausmeier, center, during the bridging ceremony at Great Bridge Presbyterian Church. Robin will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall.
Margaret Hockeborn, left, attended the Girl Scout bridging ceremony to see her daughter Emily Hockeborn make the transition from being a Girl Scout Ambassador to being an adult member of Girl Scouts. Emily earned her Girl Scout Gold Award last year, and will be attending Shenandoah University in the fall.