By SHADAE PAUL
Special to The Herald-Mail
11:07 AM EDT, August 12, 2011
Every year, thousands of Girl Scouts take the Girl Scout Law, which asks each girl to, among other things, “make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”
Gold Award recipient Anastasia Broadus of Hagerstown has been faithful to her promise by setting up a program to help low-income families receive school supplies for their children and by spending time this summer with the Girl Scouts in a week-long youth camp.
Broadus, 18, has been a Girl Scout since second grade. As an Adult Girl Scout, she remains active by leading community service events and inspiring young girls to be leaders in the community, all before entering her sophomore year of college.
Broadus’ dedication to community service was rewarded when she earned the Girl Scout Gold Award during the annual Girl Scout’s In Your Honor ceremony in May 2010. Then a senior at Washington County Technical High School, Broadus was the only girl in her troupe to receive the award.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, according to Nancy Wood, director of public relations at the Nation’s Capital Girl Scout Council, “is the highest and most prestigious award that a Girl Scout can earn.”
Wood emphasizes that a Scout must earn the award because it is given to a select group of girls who commit a huge amount of time to complete a beneficial community project that fulfills a need within the Scout’s community.
So what was Broadus’ goal when undertaking this task? “I wanted to do something that was lasting,” she said.
So she did.
Broadus worked with a local nonprofit organization to help low-income families receive school supplies for their children.
“We packed bags according to the child’s grade level, that included socks, deodorant and other items.” She later extended her program to supply-strapped teachers as well.
Broadus sent out letters to local businesses asking them to donate anything from their supply closets. She then arranged to pick up the donated supplies and created a database to keep a log of the program’s progress.
Wood describes Broadus as, “an incredible girl, a role model and leader who is a fine example of a girl who has gone through the Scout experience.”
“Girl Scouts is not just about wearing uniforms, selling cookies and spreading the word about being a Scout,” Broadus explains. “It is thinking about the type of positive imprint you will leave behind in your community.”
Now a student at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C., Broadus says she uses the Girl Scout’s ethics on a daily basis.
“I have learned the courage to be an advocate for things I believe in. I use the confidence I have learned to be a strong voice when speaking publicly. And I have learned the importance of having character as I try to be a role model for younger girls who look up to me as an older Scout,” she said.
This summer, Broadus was the co-director for a week-long Girl Scout summer camp scheduled from Monday, Aug. 8, through Friday, Aug. 12, at Parkside Community Center in Hagerstown.
“The co-director is responsible for the attending volunteers and children, the supplies for the camp, planning activities, safety and ultimately giving a report to the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital,” she said. “This year’s theme was ‘Music through the Generations, from the 1950s to current day.’ Each unit was assigned a generation and all of their activities were in that generation’s theme.”
Broadus had activities such as tie-dye T-shirts and bandannas along with crafts, trips to the pool and the park.
“Every day we said the Girl Scouts pledge and to make it fun we reviewed the laws of Scouts while they made crafts and played games. By the end of the week the girls made friends, had fun and (learned) the Girl Scout promise,” she said.
As an Adult Girl Scout, Broadus said her experience has allowed her to show younger Scouts the importance of community service.
“I see great things for them,” Broadus said. “It means a lot to me to show how they can enjoy volunteering and not expect anything in the end but a smile.”
Broadus credits her support system — her mother and Scout leaders — for her success and longevity with the Girl Scouts.
“They always supported my goals,” she said, “and always said, “You can do this, don’t stop doing what you’re doing.’ I was always told: To always do good things, you have to go to good places.”
In the future, Broadus hopes to continue to volunteer in Hagerstown, inspire girls to do community service and hopes to one day be a troupe leader when she has a daughter.
“It is important to me to be a positive influence to younger Scouts,” she said. “When I am not wearing the Scout uniform they recognize, it is important to be a good person as well.”
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