The gold award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a girl scout. It is earned after spending at least 80 hours creating a project, program, or incentive that can help the community.
Grace Nugent had been a girl scout for about 12 years before earning her gold award. Besides doing service for the community through girl scouts, she also volunteered with the St. Patrick’s Youth Ministry to help restock their food pantry each month. While there, she noticed that many food pantries lack a steady inventory of fresh fruits and vegetables. She was inspired, and her girl scout leader pushed her to come up with a way for families to produce their own fresh produce. “That’s when I came up with the idea of using hydroponic gardens,” says Nugent. “They bring produce right into people’s homes.”
The hydroponic gardens had to be affordable while being easy to maintain and care for. Nugent decided that buckets were the way to go. She devised easy to read care sheets, nutrient packages, and light sources for each garden. Six buckets in total went out to several families across Summit. Nugent also kept a garden (named “Henry”) in school, where she and her classmates could observe and learn from it.
“It was a joy to watch Henry grow before our very eyes. I was blown away by her dedication and determination to see it through!” said Doreen Patrone, who oversaw the classroom Nugent’s garden resided in.
Staff and students are very proud of Nugent for her hard work and dedication to the project and also for helping the community in her endeavors.
The gardens grew kale, lettuce, and spinach. If you know a family who could use a bucket or want to try something similar, reach out! The CHS garden club has also offered to advise anyone who wants to get into hydroponics or aquaponics.
Nugent encourages other girl scouts to strive for their gold awards. She wants all girl scouts to know “Don’t give up! When you hit a roadblock and things aren’t working as you planned, try something else!”