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Award projects are highlight of Girl Scout experience for four in Oklahoma

Tornado preparedness is the theme chosen by four Oklahoma Girl Scouts working on awards projects.
BY SARAH HUSSAIN shussain@opubco.com Modified: October 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm •  Published: October 15, 2013
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Madison Coston, 17, of Moore, was watching the news one night after the May 20 tornado and heard homeowners talk about how difficult it was to find their homes after they had been hit because they couldn't find house numbers.

“They said it would be really nice if curbs were painted with the house numbers on it,” Coston said. “Also, having friends that have had their house destroyed, it kind of came to me that it would be cool to help prepare people for the future, because tornadoes are just awful.”

For Coston, a Girl Scout, aiding Moore in its recovery and future tornado preparedness was a clear choice for her Gold Award project. She is one of four Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma who chose tornado preparedness as the theme for awards projects.

Coston has been raising money to paint house numbers on homeowners' curbs and also for buckets that will have first aid kits and a whistle that families can put in their storm shelters.

“I like seeing the people's faces when I say I'm painting their curbs for free,” she said.

Coston's mother, Patricia, said she is pleased her daughter chose the project.

“I'm very proud of my daughter, wanting to get out there and help the community,” Patricia Coston said.

Making a difference

The Gold Award is the highest honor Girl Scouts ages 14 to 18 can receive. The Silver Award is for ages 11 to 14, and the Bronze Award for ages 8 to 11.

To receive the awards, girls must complete projects that benefit their communities.

Scouts have until April to finish their projects and will be recognized during the annual awards ceremony in May. Awards will be given to girls from across the 39-county region that Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma serves.

Kaete-Marie Legler, Melanie Michaud and Tanvi Saran, all 13, worked on their Bronze Award project together two years ago. They placed recycling bins on soccer fields and emptied them every week.

Legler said they have been friends since elementary school and enjoy working together, so much so they now are working on their Silver Award together, raising funds and awareness for tornado shelters in public schools.

Kerri Wright, a communications specialist for the Girl Scouts, said, “The gist of any project is, at any level, basically girls are going to choose something that kind of tugs at their heartstrings. Something that — at least for the Gold Level — they're going to choose something that will better their community, whether it be local, regional or global with some function of sustainability.”

To learn more

For more information about the awards or about Girl Scouts, go to www.gswestok.org.