Oakley resident Angie Braun, a 17-year-old Senior Girl Scout in Brentwood's Troop 2676, earned the organization's highest achievement, the Gold Award, this month for teaching her sister Scouts and members of the community how to make a quilt.
More than 40 of the lap-sized creations made by the group were donated to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Concord. The organization takes in children who are temporarily separated from their parents due to domestic violence, custody disputes or other issues.
Braun started her project last August out of a desire to contribute something bigger than when she earned the Silver Award two years earlier for collecting and donating 3,075 books to the Children's Hospital.
Photo courtesy of Renee Braun
Girl Scout Troop 2676 and members of the community show off their handiwork during a March quilting bee.
"I loved doing crafts, but nothing I knew would help people," Braun said. "So I learned how to quilt, and we taught 20 or 30 people how to quilt too."
She and her mother, Renee, first took quilting classes; then Angie collected the needed supplies, taught her troop how to quilt and then set up a community quilting bee at the Mormon Church in Oakley. The group put together 17 quilts that day and the rest were taken home by volunteers to finish.
The goal was 25 quilts, but Braun ended up with 45 when she was done. Residents donated batting, squares of material and notions, and their time sewing. Wal-Mart in Antioch donated a $100 gift card, which was used to purchase material for the backs of the quilts.
"She does everything she's required to do and she does more," said Braun's Troop Leader Wanda Earl, who helped guide Braun on her journey. "She's a perfectionist."
Earning the Gold Award is no easy feat; and like its counterpart, the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts, it's a prestigious honor. Only 2 percent of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts achieve the Gold Award and rank of Eagle, respectively.
Benefits include being recognized by local, state and federal government officials, and moving up in rank faster in the armed forces. The achievement is documented as community service on a college application.
A Girl Scout must log 60 hours for the actual project - 30 hours of leadership and 30 of community service - complete three badges and three charms related to the award, create a timeline, figure out what she needs to complete the project, reach out to the community for donations and have it all approved by the Girl Scout Council in San Francisco.
Renee has enjoyed working with her daughter on the project, and watching her and her sister Scouts grow as they gained new skills individually and as a group.
"It's nice they learned something that their grandmothers could have taught them, and that they can think about her in the process," said Renee.
Seeing so many enjoy the craft was a huge reward for Angie, who has become addicted to the craft herself. "Some (more) people know how to quilt now," she said, "and some just can't stop quilting."