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Amber Childres

Girl Scout and Adventure Racer Valerie Hart

HOUSTON, Texas (June 2009) – Imagine trekking across 600 miles of deserted terrain, with nothing but a backpack and a handful of supplies. You have only nine days to complete the grueling journey, and you’re doing it for fun. Sounds like a scenario straight from The Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild show, right? Wrong.

Former Girl Scout and adventure racer Valerie Hart has entered to compete in one of the most difficult eco-challenge that exists today: Primal Quest. From August 15-24, Hart and her team of athletes will join 100 other teams to race against each other in the 2009 Primal Quest Badlands.

Hart, 32, attributes her love for the outdoors and passion for adventure to her involvement in Girl Scouts. She first joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie, thanks to her dad who thought it would be a good way for his daughter to learn about leadership, survival skills, values and how to work with others. He was right. The decision to join ultimately shaped the woman Hart is today.

“Being part of the Girl Scouts prepared me for the tough challenges I’ve faced over the years,” says Hart, a financial analyst at CB Richard Ellis. “I learned skills such as teamwork and the importance of never giving up.”

Hart became involved in endurance racing seven years ago when she purchased a bike to begin competing in small bike races. The more she trained, the more confident she became, leading her to bigger and longer races over the years. In 2008 alone, Hart competed in 15-hour and 24-hour adventure races, half-marathons, marathons and even a half ironman.

“With every race I felt that I could do more so I kept looking for something more challenging,” Hart says. “I set my sights on one of the most challenging endurance races in the world, Primal Quest.”

In this year’s Primal Quest, Hart and her coed team of adventure athletes will journey across South Dakota’s expansive terrain using only a map, a compass and combined skills. The journey includes rigorous mountain biking, trekking, trail running, kayaking, swimming, climbing, rappelling, orienteering and spelunking. Successfully finishing requires much more than stamina and mental fortitude. It requires selfless teamwork, spirit and absolute determination.

“Girl Scouts is all about empowerment,” Hart continues. “It made me feel like I could do anything and I apply these skills every day. I believe that if it wasn’t for all that I learned as a child in the Girl Scouts, none of what I’m doing today would even be possible.”

Hart’s greatest memory of Girl Scouting was Girl Scout camp. She enjoyed spending time with the girls, learning new things, hanging around the campfires and going on hikes. Twenty years later, she still finds herself in similar scenarios: her hobbies include running, biking, swimming, climbing, scuba diving, golf and hiking.

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