By Elizabeth Lowe
TOWSON – The last four members of Girl Scouts of the USA Troop 4441 earned their Gold Awards together, then their high school diplomas.
Now, the 18-year-olds are college freshmen, carrying forth the lessons from scouting.
Beth Kennedy, Katharine Kriss, Maggie Linz and Mary Rose Malooly, all 2012 graduates of Maryvale Preparatory School in Brooklandville, received their Gold Awards in April.
The troop, sponsored by Immaculate Conception in Towson, was retired this spring.
“This is an exceptional achievement that very few troops can boast,” Traci A. Barnett, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, wrote in a statement to the Catholic Review. “Nationally, only 6 percent of girls earn this prestigious award each year.”
Kennedy, Kriss and Malooly graduated from Immaculate Conception’s parish school in 2008, Linz from the parish school of St. Ursula in Parkville. Kennedy and Kriss joined the troop in first grade, Malooly in sixth grade and Linz four years ago.
Kennedy, a freshman at Towson University who plans to major in business administration, hopes to continue performing service work and is considering joining her college’s service fraternity.
Kennedy, who knew “everyone (at Maryvale) from the headmistress to the janitor,” is comfortable approaching her new teachers for enrichment should she need it.
The girls all took Advanced Placement classes at Maryvale Prep.
Malooly, a freshman at Washington College in Chestertown who plans to major in pre-veterinary, said Maryvale “prepared us for the workload, and taught us how to be independent students.”
Catholic schools also deepened their faith.
“It always gave us someone (God) to turn to when we needed help,” Malooly said.
Malooly, the niece of Archdiocese of Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly, took from Scouting persistence, organization and patience, all “things I will use later,” she said.
For her Gold Award project, Kriss, a freshman at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she plans to major in business or hospitality management, planted a vegetable garden at Catholic Charities’ St. Vincent’s Villa in Timonium, a center for children with behavioral and emotional needs. She also made a cookbook and garden maintenance guide.
“That was the easiest part,” Kriss said of planting the garden. “Everything else was so time consuming.”
Linz, a freshman at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore who plans to major in nursing, restored a garden, repaired a broken statue, painted a wall and installed a bird feeder and wind chime at St. Vincent’s Villa.
“I wasn’t much of a nature person before,” Linz said. “I didn’t know weeds from plants.”
For her Gold Award project, Kennedy made a website, video and brochure about bullying and presented the information to Maryvale students.
“In the process you learn a lot of things,” Kennedy said.
Malooly sewed 10 aprons for Our Daily Bread in Baltimore. She inspired volunteers at Oak Crest, a continuing care retirement community in Parkville, and parish volunteers, to continue to sew aprons.
In this new chapter of their lives, the girls plan to stay in touch.
“There is a bus to D.C. from Washington College,” Kriss said to Malooly, who bought a web camera to Skype with the girls.
“I had to buy it,” Malooly said.
Copyright (c) Sept. 10, 2012 CatholicReview.org