The 17-year-old Goshen resident, who will be a senior at Wamogo Regional High School
next month, is working towards her Gold Award. Comparable to the Boy Scout Eagle
Award, it's the highest award in Girl Scouts.

"Only about 5 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide achieve this award," said Katherine,
currently a Senior Girl Scout, who started her journey as a Daisy in kindergarten. "I've
been a Girl Scout for the past 13 years and I am excited to be the first girl in the area to
get the Gold Award."

An award with national standards, according to the Girl Scouts Web site, it acknowledges
an individual's "accomplishments, leadership, creativity, and personal effort in trying to
make the world a better place."

The first Girl Scout troop in Connecticut was formed in Litchfield in 1912 and now the
organization boasts 55,000 female members ages 5 to 17 in Connecticut and 21,000 adult
volunteers throughout the state.

After completing mountains of paperwork to get the project moving, thankfully she said
she had Vicki Lynch, Girl Scout Gold Award Advisor, to help her draw up her proposal for
her award project, Katherine still had a few more hurdles to jump over before the actual
woman hours could begin.

"I had to contact five community members to get ideas for what I could do for my project.
The Rev. Richard M. Taberski at St. Thomas of Villanova was one of the first people I
called," said Katherine, whose family has been a member of the Roman Catholic Church
in Goshen for four generations. "I called a few other people, but this project was the
closest to my heart since I have been an Altar Server there for four years and the back
room needed a lot of help."
After zeroing in on what she wanted to do for her project, she had to fill out more
paperwork, get letters of endorsements, and as a requirement for approval, had to win a
Leadership and a Career Award. Also during the preliminary process of her project,
Katherine had to earn three Interest Project Patches, similar in scope to a Boy Scout's
Merit Badge. She received them in Games, Reading and Creative Writing.

"Even before my project could get approved, I had already put in 70 hours this summer
by earning the Girl Scout Leadership Award, which was 30 hours, and the Career Award,
which was 40 hours," said Katherine.

To earn her Leadership Award, she was selected as one of 195 other girls to attend
Laurel Girls State, a weeklong mock government program sponsored by the Goshen
American Legion, which teaches young women about government, at both the local and
state levels.

Katherine was elected as the Town Clerk for the fictional town of Cross Roads and she
earned the Lorriane G. Hisert Award at the event's graduation ceremony, awarded by the
Girls State Commission and Senior Counselors for having the most progress during Girl
State 2008.

Instead of using her summer vacation as a time to unwind and relax, her summer was jam
packed. Her second trip this summer, where she completed the hours for her
Leadership Award, was to climb on board the 118' tall ship, the Unicorn, in the Boston
Bay Area with Sisters Under Sail, a leadership program for women. "I was an alumna of
this trip from last summer, so it was an honor to be invited back as a volunteer intern,"
said Katherine who stood watch, provided instruction for other trainees and helped to
maintain the vessel.
With her Leadership Award already in the bank, it was time to complete her Career
Award. "I worked as a counselor at Camp Cochipianee, in Goshen, where I was fortunate
enough to be in charge of theme day," she said of planning actives centered on her
theme of Colonial Day for campers in all areas of camp. "I had to stay within a small
budget, organize and plan activities and train other counselors. It was a really fun and
successful day at the camp."
With 70 hours out of the way, 65 more hours remain for her to achieve the prestigious
Gold Award, which should fill a need in the community, create a change and be ongoing,
she explained.

"I decided to organize and remodel the back room of the St. Thomas church, where the
robes and decorations are stored," said Katherine of the scope of her project, which
received the thumbs up from her mentor and Gold Award Committee member Rita Farren
two weeks ago.

"I am adding wooden shelves, remodeling the current closet by adding two more sets of
doors creating easier access to the robes, painting the room and generally organizing
the area. It was just a disaster back here," she added.
The space Katherine decided to tackle is where Altar Servers, Ushers and Eucharistic
Ministers put on their robes in preparation for mass. However, this isn't the only part of
her project.

"I'm also going to help in the Altar Server Program by recruiting and training Altar
Servers," said Katherine of making sure there are Altar Servers to fill her void once she
leaves for college next fall.

After soliciting local business for donations, Northwest Lumber in Cornwall donated all of
the lumber and Goshen Hardware donated the paint.
"My project has to be completed by September of 2009, but the remodel will be done way
before that, hopefully by this coming September," Katherine said of her timeline.

Part of her leadership and community based project required her to enlist the help of
several volunteers, including Art and Sally Smith, Mike Feeley, Rachel and John Pelchat,
Judy Meyer and Brianna Novajasky. Don Nardozzi, plant manager at the church is her
technical consultant helping with the carpentry work. Her grandfather Joe Pedone, is
also pitching in to help with the carpentry.
However she still needs more volunteers and financial assistance to purchase a big
black metal cabinet and complete her project.

Interested people can contact her at Katherine.Stansfield@snet.net. To learn more about
the Girl Scouts, log onto GSofCT.org.



©The Litchfield Enquirer 2008
Katherine Stansfield is about to make Girl Scout history in Goshen.