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Amber Childres

Girl Scout Teaches Underprivileged Kids How to Swim

HOUSTON (March 3, 2009) – Girl Scout Senior Madeline G. taught the fundamentals of swimming and water safety at the Nehemiah Center, an organization serving underprivileged children, to earn the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than 5 percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

“Through my community service project, I quickly learned that patience is the key to success,” says Madeline, a student at Lamar High School. “Some children would pick up swimming skills faster than others, and instead of becoming frustrated, I had to figure out different ways to explain or demonstrate the skill to those who needed more time.”

Earning the Gold Award is a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement and personal development. It takes more than 100 service hours and two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project that is a service to the community.

“I chose this project because I love working with children and have a great deal of patience,” Madeline explains. “Swimming is a very important life skill that everyone should learn, and I felt my knowledge and experience in swimming could benefit the Nehemiah Center.”

As part of her project, Madeline and a group of volunteers worked with young kids in the pool, teaching them stroke techniques, side-breathing, drills and even played a few games. She also met with children in the classroom to address water safety and to review their swimming skills.

“My daughter spent a lot of time working on her Gold Award,” says Madeline’s mother, Janice G. “She learned about perseverance and patience to achieve her goal. She also dealt with forms, applications and other paperwork which has really helped her during the college application process.”

As a Girl Scout, Madeline has a special interest in community service as well as volleyball, dance, film and journalism. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Presidential Council and plans to attend college to study broadcast journalism.

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 65,000 girl members and 17,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit