YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Twenty-two area Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts earned Bronze and Silver Awards May 8 at the USA Girl Scouts Overseas-Seoul annual award ceremony.

The awards are the highest award possible for Junior Troops (fourth through sixth grade) and Cadettes (seventh through ninth grade) and represent the Scouts' commitment to helping others and improving their community.

Eight scouts from Junior Troop 14 won the Bronze Award for inventorying all the camping equipment available for the Overseas Girl Scout Council in Korea. The American Forces Spouses' Club gave them $2,086.24 to buy 16 new tents, eight new propane stoves and six new coolers.

Four scouts from Junior Troop 22 decorated sixteen blankets and several burp cloths they presented to the Yongsan Family Care Center Stork's Nest May 2 to help expectant mothers. They earned the Bronze Award for this project.

Ten scouts from Cadette 5 earned the Silver Award for their project in planning and executing an all-day workshop for all Junior Girl Scouts in Seoul who were moving up to the Cadette level. They also prepared the 2007-2008 Seoul Bridging Ceremony, in which the Scouts are actually "promoted," held May 3 for all age level girls that were bridging up to the next Girl Scout level.
Each girl had to put in 15 to 50 hours to complete a project.

"This has been some journey for most of the girls," said Shelly Matautia, overseas committee chair, USA Girl Scouts Overseas-Seoul. "Earning these awards is no small task, and you should be extremely proud of your daughters' accomplishments."

Paulette Vrable, Troop Leader of Cadette 5, shared the same sentiments.

"I'm very proud of them. I'm proud that they put all their hours into the community, back into Yongsan," she said. "I don't know anyone who could be more proud."

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Diane Foster, former U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan command sergeant major, added her compliments as the guest speaker to the award ceremony, which took place at Commiskey's Restaurant on Yongsan Garrison.

"The biggest misconception about Girl Scouts is that Girl Scouts just sell cookies," she told the audience. "People don't realize that Girl Scouts do community projects all year long."

She closed quoting singer Natalie Merchant: "One day you will outgrow your uniform and your badges, but you will never outgrow the meaning of the fantastic work you are doing nor the wonderful friends that you will make along the way."

As if to confirm that, Girl Scout Jessica Goodrich said, "I think the part that made it all worth it was the fact that you always had friends around you to help you. Because part of being a Girl Scout is trying to work to build a better place and you cannot do it alone. It makes it more worthwhile to have your friends around you."