Steamboat Springs Middle school girls in Girl Scout Troop 220 are serious about taking their leadership skills to the next level.
Two members of the troop, Anna Poirot and Brittany Ryan, both 12, recently received Bronze Awards for newborn gifts they made for the Visiting Nurse Association.
The organization will distribute the gift packets, which include hooded towels, washcloths, rattles and diapers, through programs aimed at helping new and expecting mothers in Routt and Moffat counties.
Anna and Brittany's project involved presenting the idea to businesses and asking for donations, purchasing and sewing items and assembling the packages.
Anna said she and Brittany had a hard time fitting the project in their busy schedules, and they learned that it's best not to procrastinate.
"I think it's just easier to get things done ahead of time," she said.
The Bronze Award is the highest award Junior Girl Scout members can receive. It requires each member to spend 15 hours on a project that benefits the community.
"What they (Girl Scouts organization) really try to get across at this level is building leadership skills and being able to communicate well in the real world -- a non-junior high world," troop leader Ruth Abate said. "They really emphasize girl empowerment with the knowledge that anything is possible."
All seven of the girls in the troop have received Bronze Awards. Other projects included community service at GrandKids Child Care Center and collecting dog and cat food for the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter.
The Junior Girl Scout project helps the girls to step up their leadership abilities for the Cadette and Senior Scout projects and related awards, which can stand out on girls' resumes and applications for college, Abate said.
Girls in the troop now are Cadettes and soon will be working on projects for the Silver Award.
Brittany and other girls in Troop 220 have been involved in Girl Scouts since kindergarten.
"It boosts their self-confidence and teachers them to be independent," said Tammy Ryan, Brittany's mother. "She's had a great experience with it."
The members have shown their commitment by sticking with it at the middle school level, when there are many activities they could be involved in, Abate said.
"This is like the core group of girls that have been really active all along," she said.
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org