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Going for gold: Local Girl Scout earns top honor

Katy Spears is an unprecedented third generation in her family to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. She poses with, from left, grandmother Karen Parsons and mother Micki Spears. (Shannon Geisen / Enterprise)

By shannon geisen

Katy Spears has joined an elite group of women.

She earned Girl Scouts’ highest and most prestigious honor – the Gold Award.

Only 5.4 percent of eligible Girl Scouts in the U.S. achieve the Gold Award.

The last time a Park Rapids Girl Scout met Gold Award requirements was the 1970s.

Spears’ project involved working once a week with Century Adventures, an after-school program for Century Elementary children.

Over a two-month period, she taught new games, sports and songs – for example, soccer, kick ball, charades, wiffle ball, fresh takes on tag, and other group activities.

“Bus Stop,” a character improvisation/acting game, was a favorite, said Spears.

Typically, there were 30 kids per day, ranging in age from kindergarten to fourth grade.

Each child received a certificate, acknowledging he or she had learned a new game.

“It was a big success,” said Spears. “The kids filled out surveys. There was lots of positive feedback. The kids said they’d continue to play these games.”

Spears gathered all the activities and song lyrics into a notebook, which she left with Century Adventures organizers so they can continue using them.

Eighty hours is the suggested minimum number of hours Gold Award recipients should spend identifying an issue, investigating it thoroughly, creating a plan, taking action and educating and inspiring others.

Spears said she easily worked 100 hours on her project.

On average, a Girl Scout spends between one and two years on her project.

Spears received notes of congratulations from President Barack Obama and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

She earned her Gold Award as an Ambassador – the Girl Scout level for high school juniors and seniors – but is now an adult lifetime member.

The 19-year-old is currently a freshman at Valley City State University, where she’s studying math education.

“It’s been a great experience for all of us,” said Monica Clark, one of Spears’ Girl Scout leaders. “We’ve seen the hard work, dedication and perseverance that it has taken Katy to earn her Gold Award. After many setbacks and detours, she definitely deserves this top honor!”

Spears’ achievement has inspired her fellow troop members, said Clark.

Expect to see more gold.