The girls’ project was establishing and running a vacation Bible school for St. Louis Catholic Church in Paynesville.
Taking part in the Gold Award ceremony were Bernadine Fasen from St. Louis Catholic Church; Amy Sidmore, Gold Award committee; and Becky Bowden, Gold Award committee chairman and Lou Louis, local council committee person.
Kristen Freilinger, Sarah Lahr, Molly Meagher, and Jennifer Wendlandt earned the Girl Scout Gold Award through their efforts to provide educational and entertaining guidance to the children of St. Louis Catholic Church and surrounding churches. The four girls chose to conduct this program because of their desire to boost the Bible school program in their church. The Bible school was designed for preschoolers through sixth graders. Bible school was held June 8 to 12 from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We started the planning process over a year ago in trying to decide on which topic to do our project,” Meagher said.
“We saw the numbers dropping at Bible school. The kids were tired of seeing the same thing every year and we wanted to bring the attendance numbers up,” Wendlandt said. The girls began looking through books to get ideas.
“Being friends we wanted to work on the project together, but the Girl Scout Council was a little leary of four girls doing a project together. It had never been done before,” Wendlandt said.
The Bible school consisted of five different Bibical towns. Each day the kids would visit a different town to learn about its customs. Each girl was responsible for establishing the activities and finding help for their town.
“We found that with all the activities of our senior year in high school, we had a hard time getting together so we had to make sure the work got done,” Lahr said.“We learned we had to trust each other that the jobs would get done when a task was assigned.”
“Setting up the Bible school program was really a group effort. We worked together as much as possible,” Meagher said. “The first day we were at church by 7:30 a.m. to get everything ready. We were so nervous, we wanted everything to go right.” They had about 50 youngsters taking part in Bible school, doubling the number from the year before.
“The first day went better than expected,” Lahr said. “We were prepared for so many things to go wrong,” Freilinger added.
“I hope the kids keep coming back. The format was so successful that they are planning a similar format for next year with more hands-on activities,” Lahr said.
The girls all agreed that by working together on the project, it brought them closer together. “It created a special bond between us,” Wendlandt added.
“The project taught us organization skills, cooperation, leadership, and how to work together as a group,” Freilinger said.
“Our parents all helped with the Bible school,” Meagher said.
The four girls started Girl Scouts together with 26 other classmates. By the time they reached their senior year, there were only seven left. “We were such a close knit group, it was if we could read each other’s minds,” Wendlandt said.
“Our leader, Betty Freilinger and her husband, Jim, were willing to listen to us whenever we needed someone to talk to and supported each of us equally,” Wendlandt said.
Wendlandt said Girl Scouts has taught her a lot about life. “People look up to you because they see you have worked so hard at earning your badges,” she added.
All four of the girls encourage others to join Girl Scouts and to go for the gold. “Girl Scouts is a great experience,” Meagher said.
“You learn a lot about yourself and others,” Wendlandt added. “Girl Scouts was a fun time,” Freilinger stressed.
Lahr said Girl Scouts was a great experience and she is glad she stuck with it through her senior year. “I learned so much from Scouts,” she added.
Wendlandt, the daughter of Tom and Doris Wendlandt, has paid her dues to become a lifetime Girl Scout member. She has served on the district council as a Girl Scout and presently serves on the council as an adult. Wendlandt is a secretarial student at St. Cloud Technical College and plans to enroll in the course for eating disorders at St. Cloud State University.
Meagher, the daughter of Pat and Lori Meagher, is working this year and hopes to attend the University of Minnesota next year.
Freilinger, the daughter of Jim and Betty Freilinger, is a medical secretary student at Alexandria Technical College.
Lahr, the daughter of Harold and Liz Lahr, is a radiography student at the Rochester Technical College/Mayo School of Health Related Science.
To earn a Gold Award, the Girl Scouts must fulfill several requirements. They must earn the Career Exploration pin, which requires them to participate in such activities as writing resumes and planning career fairs. They must also earn the Senior Girl Scout Leadership Award by serving as a leader in group activities or working with an adult who is in a leadership position.
The Senior Girl Scout Challenge must also be earned by girls working toward their Gold Award. Girl Scouts meet this challenge by developing their values for living, relating to others, developing their potential, contributing to society, and teaching others about Girl Scouts. Finally, the girls must plan and implement a Girl Scout Gold Award project that has to be approved by a district committee and that requires at least 50 hours of work. They also must earn four interest project patches on topics related to their Gold Award project.
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