Local teen to receive highest scouting honor

Published 4:06 pm Monday, April 9, 2007

A dream comes true for 16-year-old Niclese Garrett on May 4. On that day she will receive the highest award presented to a Girl Scout.

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck will present Garrett with the Gold Award pin in the rotunda of the state capitol.

“I’ve stated many times before that the Girl Scout Gold Award is not for every girl,” program services director Vera McFarlin Johnson of the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi said in a letter of congratulations to Garrett.

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“A Girl Scout Gold Awardee is someone special who has done something extraordinary,” Johnson said.

Indeed, only 2 percent of Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award status.

The daughter of Patrick and Nicole Williams, Garrett is a sophomore at Natchez High School.

She began her scouting career at age 6 in a Brownie troop. The activities and education suited her, she said.

Her mother agreed. “I thought it would be interesting for her and would keep her busy,” Williams said. “It has kept her busy and it’s kept me busy, too.”

Williams is a former Scout troop leader. Her association with the programs of scouting gave her insight into what the experiences could mean to her daughter, she said.

To earn the Gold Award, Garrett, working in Troop 224, went beyond the ordinary Scout activities, most of them centered in community service.

She has learned “to help other people and to take responsibility. She has become a leader and has learned to be independent,” Williams said.

In 2006, Garrett won the second-highest award, the Silver Award. She was told that it would take three years to gain the Gold Award.

“I just went ahead and did it,” she said. “I’ve worked hard. We went to a workshop and I decided I could do this in a year.”

She has enjoyed learning about the outdoors during Scout camping trips in the summer. But, most of all, she enjoys learning to be a leader, Garrett said.

The next step will be to plan and hold a workshop for other Girl Scouts to work for yet another award, the Achievement Award.

Her 10 years of hard work have paid off in another way. She was chosen a recipient of the Girl Scout Destination trip from the Middle Mississippi Council.

“I have been awarded a trip to New York,” she said. “It’s called ‘Broadway and Beyond.’”

Garrett will participate in a second award event on May 6, when she and other Scouts gather at the annual Celebration of Achievements at the Jackson Medical Mall.