Girl Scouts receive prestigious award

Teens honored for community interest

— Sarah Bockelman and Katie Matteo aren't your typical Girl Scouts. The graduating Steamboat Springs High School seniors are the first two Steamboat Girl Scouts to earn the Gold Award in at least two decades.

The Girl Scouts of Chipeta Council serves approximately 2,200 girls in 13 counties, and it awarded only four Gold Awards this year. The Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award a Girl Scout can earn.

It took Bockelman and Matteo three years to complete the requirements for the award. The work included recruiting an adult adviser, spending 30 hours in a leadership role, spending 40 hours doing career exploration, earning five interest project badges and spending 50 hours on a project that benefits the community.

"This project also has to be approved by a committee of volunteers in the Girl Scout Council," said Michelle Heiser, program director for the Girl Scouts of Chipeta Council. "Then they build a network of people that can help them achieve the vision they have created that needs change."

Bockelman completed a project titled "What is a Flag Ceremony Anyway?" that dealt with flag etiquette, history, symbolism and national emblem songs for flag ceremonies. She also created a 20-page booklet with information about the U.S. flag.

"She noticed that kids these days don't know what our flag is about and why it is so important to properly respect and honor it when they see it," said Sarah's mom, Sue Bockelman.

Being a Girl Scout is a family tradition for the Bockelmans.

"I'm a lifetime member, and my mother was my leader," Sue Bockelman said. "Sarah is now a third-generation Girl Scout and the first to earn the Gold Award."

Sarah Bockelman will receive her award during a ceremony from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Matteo will receive her award at a private ceremony with her family.

Matteo used her project as an opportunity to explore her future career options.

"I am going to school for graphic design and wanted to do something related to my college goal and for a dance company I am involved in," Matteo said. "I designed a Web page (for the Oak Street Performing Arts Company) in order to create another form of communication between them and the community."

Matteo created the Web page from scratch and designed it through actual coding.

"I spent over 55 hours on the different phases and figuring out how to do everything I wanted it to do," she said.

Matteo has stayed with the Girl Scouts for 11 years because she wanted to show that it could be cool to be a Girl Scout while in high school.

"As a younger Girl Scout, there weren't many older girls that were Girl Scouts. Most of them dropped out before high school," Matteo said. "I wanted to be an older Girl Scout to give the younger girls a role model."

-- To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com

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