Staff Report

Sarah Darson of Valrico has earned the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award.

The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

Darson created a video craft project titled ‘Reimagine, Redesign, Recreate’, aimed at getting viewers to see trash in a new light by encouraging them to use discarded trash items in their craft projects. Working with Tara LaSalla from Going Green Tampa, she created a YouTube channel called GreenMeLocally to showcase her videos. At the end of each video, links to environmental and recycling websites provide information on how to recycle, where to recycle, and what can be recycled.

A graduate of Durant High School and a current student at the University of South Florida, Darson enjoys reading, volunteering, basketball, tutoring and spending time outdoors.

Darson received her Girl Scout Gold Award along with 33 other Girl Scouts throughout west central Florida at a recognition event at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.

“Sarah combined her artistic skills with her environmental knowledge and created a number of extraordinary “How To” videos on YouTube that give step-by-step instructions to create arts and crafts from trash,” said Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Community Education Liaison, Pat DePlasco. “Sarah provided information about Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful in the videos to raise awareness about our organization, and we (Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful) will include her work on our 4 Kids page on our website shortly.”

This year’s Girl Scout Gold Award recipients provided more than 3,200 hours of service, completing projects focused on a variety of community issues.

The Gold Award is conferred to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually, and approximately one million Girl Scouts nationwide have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.