Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: LZ Grace

Elizabeth, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Elizabeth worked with Landing Zone Grace, a 38-acre farm retreat for veterans and their families, in Virginia Beach. The retreat provides free accommodations, meals and activities for as long as veterans need as they transition to life after deployment. The first part of Elizabeth’s project was helping to clean and paint horse stalls to prepare for Landing Zone Grace’s grand opening over the summer. This was an important task, as horseback riding can be a therapeutic part of the recovery process for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or traumatic brain injury.

The biggest part of her project was building a 56’ by 24’ fence around a vegetable garden. This allowed Landing Zone Grace to add a chicken coop to the garden. With chickens to eat the bugs, the vegetables can be grown without pesticides to feed the veterans and their families who stay at Landing Zone Grace. The fenced space also provides a private place for veterans to do some peaceful gardening.

“I wanted to give back to the veteran community because they contribute to our freedom selflessly,” Elizabeth said. “When I heard about Landing Zone Grace, I knew I wanted to help this organization that promotes peace and happiness for veterans.”

Elizabeth continues to volunteer at Landing Zone Grace and assist around the property with any work that needs to be done.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Elizabeth to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.