The girls from Westerville Girl Scout Troop 1011 continue bringing home the gold.

The girls from Westerville Girl Scout Troop 1011 continue bringing home the gold.

Two more girls from the troop recently earned the Gold Award, the highest title possible in Girl Scouts. Samantha Rader, a graduate of Westerville North High School, is a freshman at Otterbein College. Allison Hrabak, also a North graduate, is a freshman at Wright State University.

The girls bring to 12 the number of Troop 1011 members to earn Gold Awards, the highest possible in Girl Scouts.

According to troop co-leader Shelley Schultheis, Rader's project was titled "Self-Esteem, Shining Through to the Real You," and focused on homeless and at-risk girls who are counseled by professionals at Southeast Inc., a recovery and mental health care service in downtown Columbus.

Rader worked with two groups of girls, ages 7-9 and 11-14, over a four-month period, teaching them basic first-aid, general personal hygiene, dental hygiene and self-esteem improvement. The girls were motivated by a system rewarding their work toward personal goals, according to Schultheis, and Rader also secured a dental hygienist, dental assistant and a paramedic to assist in the learning seminars.

Hrabak's project was called "Columbus Colony Culture," and involved interviewing many of the residents of Columbus Colony Nursing Home on Sunbury Road, according to Schultheis. Hrabak interviewed the residents, many of whom were deaf or blind, about their families, careers, hobbies, likes and dislikes, and what they enjoy at Columbus Colony.

She secured the help of an interpreter to conduct the interviews, which she then used to make a scrapbook for the facility. This "living scrapbook" included forms for other residents to use to submit their own biographies, and Hrabak also donated paper and other tools to the residents so they could create their own pages for the scrapbook.

"The main goal of this Gold Award project was to raise the self-esteem of the elderly residents who do not have visitors very often," Schultheis said.

To earn a Gold Award, a Girl Scout must go through multiple steps, including devoting at least 30 hours of work in a leadership role and 40 hours in a career role such as shadowing professionals, before meeting the requirements to begin a Gold Award project, which requires a 65-hour minimum investment.