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Amber Childres

Girl Scout Leads Spiritual Retreat to Earn Gold Award

HOUSTON, Texas (May 2009) – Girl Scout Senior LeighAnna H. put on a four-day spiritual retreat for teens on adoration, community, theology and service to earn the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than 5 percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

“Through my community service project, I learned I can do anything I set my mind to,” says LeighAnna, a senior at Clear Lake High School. “I also learned that you can’t put on a large event without help. I really had to learn to let my team help me because I couldn’t do everything all by myself.”

Earning the Gold Award is a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement and personal development. It takes more than 100 service hours and two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project that is a service to the community.

“My faith is something that is very important to me, but it hasn’t always been that way,” explains LeighAnna as to why she chose this particular project. “Before I attended my ACTS retreat, I didn’t really like church. But after ACTS, I felt like a completely different person and I chose to become Teen Director because I wanted to pass on my experiences to others.”

As part of her project, LeighAnna led a team of 30 teens and adults to plan and put on the retreat. During the four-day retreat, LeighAnna gave talks and presentations to teens focusing on adoration, community, theology and service. The group was led through many traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church. The ultimate goal for the project was to help strengthen participants’ faith, deepen their relationship with Christ, renew them spiritually, and build lasting friendships.

“LeighAnna utilized many lessons she learned in Girl Scouting, particularly empowerment and personal integrity, to achieve far more than she could have done alone,” says Jaynie, LeighAnna’s mother. “I have noticed changes in my daughter during the Gold Award process: she has refined her sense of appreciation for those in leadership positions and she embraces challenges with a clear-eyed exuberance and poise of a mature young lady.”

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 65,000 girl members and 17,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit