Two Vincentian sisters, members of the Girl Scouts at St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, Brooklyn were recently presented with the Girl Scouts Gold and Silver Awards.
Natalie Small received the Girl Scouts Gold Award, the highest and most prestigious award a Senior Girl Scout can earn in Girl Scouting, at a ceremony at Baruch College, City University of New York, according to Ancilla Friday, Girl Scouts Leader and Program Director at St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush.
Natalie’s younger sister, Natalia, (don’t get confused by the spelling of their first names) received the Girl Scouts Silver Award, the highest achievement a Cadette Girl Scout can earn, “which marks her as an accomplished and distinguished member of her community and the world,” Friday told Caribbean Life.
She said more than 5,500 Girl Scouts “nationally design, implement and complete Gold Award projects every year in the USA.”
“Each girl is required to design and complete an 80-plus hour ‘Take Action’ project that will have a great impact on her environment,” Friday said.
In her project, she said Natalie addressed the inadequacy of school supplies for youth in her community.
“She provided children at her former daycare / elementary school with backpacks and school supplies to improve the quality of their learning tools,” Friday said.
“She would like to thank her mom and leaders for supporting and encouraging her on this journey, and everyone who donated supplies to her project,” she added about Natalie, the first child of Nolan and Michelle Small of Frenches, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Natalie joined the Girl Scouts as a Brownie at the tender age of five. She is currently enrolled in Medgar Evers College, where she is majoring in science, with a concentration in mathematics.
“Receiving my Girl Scouts Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, was an honor and a privilege,” Natalie told Caribbean Life. “It was an amazing feeling giving back to my community.
“It was also inspiring for other children to see someone of a young age being so generous,” she added. “Just the ability to put a smile on the faces of many children was reward enough and a humbling experience.”
Friday said Natalia was among 187 girls in New York City who demonstrated “real leadership in their communities through the design and completion of a 50-plus hour ‘Take Action Project.’”
She said Natalia completed a global project in which she collected more than 1,000 medicine bottles from members of her community and presented them to members of the Brooklyn-based Vincentian umbrella organization, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization, USA, Inc. (COSAGO) to be shipped to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Girl Scouts Leader said Natalia also joined the Girl Scouts as a Brownie and will be working on her Gold Award in the fall.
“It was a great honor for me to receive the Girl Scouts Silver Award,” Natalia said. “Working on the project, my eyes were opened to the many disadvantages in the world.
“This project gave me the chance to exhibit qualities of leadership and to take the initiative to make an impact on something that was of importance to me,” she added.
Friday said that, as a Girl Scouts Leader of many years, “it is always a good feeling when I am able to help someone to achieve their full potential.
“These young ladies are passionate about Girl Scouts and all it has to offer,” she said. “I can always count on them to show up wherever and whenever.
“Their parents are also a driving force behind them,” she added. “The girls that excel in Girl Scouting are those who receive the support of their parents and/or guardians along the way.”
Friday, however, said the Girl Scouts Gold and Silver Awards are “not easily achieved.”
She said the girls participate in several workshops, meetings and over 50 hours of community service “to get to this point.”
They are also required to submit reports and pictures stating what they have done, Friday said.
She said she and Dorothy Thomas are the leaders of the Seniors and Cadettes Girl Scouts at St. Paul’s Church.
“Natalie and Natalia both joined our Girl Scouts as Daisies at the age of five and have not stopped going,” Friday said. “The girls we have coached over the years, who received their Gold and Silver Awards, have done well in college, and are doing well in their careers.”
She said Girl Scouting at St. Paul’s Church for the fall resumes on Saturday, Sept. 28.