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Crystal Simmons

Girl Scout raises guide dog to earn Gold Award

CYPRESS, Texas (May 27, 2011) – Girl Scout Ambassador Christie A.. raised and trained her dog, Bruce, to be a guide dog through the Southeastern Guide Dogs program to earn the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

“I learned perseverance, leadership and techniques for overcoming adversity,” says Christie, a senior at Cypress Ranch High School. “I thought it would be valuable experience for Bruce to go to my high school, but my principal didn’t exactly agree. It took weeks of negotiation to bring him into my school and I actually had to bring up the Texas state law.”

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.

“I have been dreaming of this project since third grade when I met and talked to another girl who had raised a guide dog for her Gold Award project,” explains Christie. “I absolutely adore dogs, and several of my aunts are legally blind, so this project meant a lot to me.”

During her year-long project, Christie taught her dog Bruce commands as basic as “sit,” “stay” and “come” to more advanced commands such as “find the car.” She also brought him to local stores, restaurants and school to familiarize him with leading the blind. While out with Bruce, Christie educated the public on the importance of guide dogs and guide dog programs.

“I am so thankful my daughter decided to stay in Girl Scouts and earn her Gold Award,” says Sue Aldrich, Christie’s mother. “She encountered several major obstacles along the way, such as the lack of a local puppy-raiser program, her personal endurance for a project that took over her life for more than a year and resistance from her school principal, but she rose to meet the challenges and gained incredible maturity along the way.”

As an active member of Girl Scouts, Christie was a Peckham Park Day Camp program aide and a senior senator. At Cypress Ranch High School, Christie is involved in the National Honor Society, key club and Health Occupations Students of America. She is also a National Merit Scholar-Commended and an AP Scholar. Following graduation, she plans to study biology in college and become a cardiologist.

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 72,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit

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