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Girl Scout Plants a Golden Garden

A junior at Northwest High School has earned the highest award achievable in Girl Scouts ­– the prestigious Gold Award has been earned by 16-year-old Grace Hoffpauir. The Gold Award is comparable to the Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle Scout merit.

According to the Girl Scouts, the Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond.

And that is just what Grace Hoffpauir has done with her project.

However, before she could even think about her final Gold Award project she had to rise through the Girl Scout ranks. “The Gold Award was always a goal,” said Hoffpauir. “When I started Girl Scouts we were told about the awards. When you’re a Brownie or Junior you get you’re Bronze Award, when you’re a Cadet you get your Silver Award, and when you’re a Senior Scout or an Ambassador you get the Gold.”

Each of those must be achieved before a scout can embark on the process of earning the Gold Award. “It was always something to achieve. I wanted to be part of the small percent of girls who follow through and get the awards,” said Hoffpauir, who grew up in a scouting family. Her older brother is an Eagle Scout. “I also grew up in scouting being told stories of girls who got full scholarships to top colleges because they got all of the awards. I thought the award might also help me in the future.”

“Nothing holds Grace back,” said her mother, Norma B. Hoffpauir. “She is open to opportunities and gives her best. Grace has enjoyed scouting since before she joined girl scouts.” According to her mom, Grace was involved in scouting even before she became a Girl Scout. She would participate in her older brother’s Cub Scout “She attended all of those meetings and even went camping with him on family campouts. She still does activities with her younger brother who is also a scout. She was hooked early on I think,” said Mom.

“The process for getting the award involved a lot of work,” said Grace. “First, I had to choose a project. The requirements for the project are that it has to be sustainable and it has to have a local and global benefit.”

For her Gold Award project, Grace chose to construct a garden around the bell tower at the Trinity United Methodist Church. At the base of the tower is a fenced in area which the church has been planning to turn into a garden. “The church was going to do the garden anyway,” said Grace, “I thought rather than having the church raise the money, I could just do it myself and have them take it over once I'm done.”

“After it was decided that that was my project, the proposal began. I had to sit down and estimate the time, budget, necessary amo