Lithia area horse lovers can now enjoy riding longer hours, thanks to a project by a local Girl Scout.
Newsome High School student Jasmine Spengler worked with volunteers to increase visibility on the jumps at Bryan Stables in Lithia, earning herself the Girl Scouts Gold Award.
“Combining her passion for the sport with her commitment to Girl Scout values, Jasmine envisioned and implemented an improvement project that is earning her the highest award available,” said Girl Scout Troop Leader, Mary Helenius.
Spengler, who has a passion for horses and riding, felt there was a lack of awareness regarding visibility at the stables.
“I realized that a handful of locations did not provide lighting for evening riding,” she said. “This poses a significant problem because most riders are in school during the day and can only ride in the evening.”
According to Helenius, without proper lighting, jumps and other obstacles are less visible.
“Not only must the horse see the jump, but the rider must be able to determine the distance and communicate with the horse,” said Helenius. “Unfortunately, the proper lighting is very expensive and not realistic for most locations.”
After discussing the issues with her instructors, Gayle and Holly Bryan, Spengler proposed that she would paint the jumps for her Gold Award project. She felt that painting the jumps with vibrant colors would help the horse and rider to distinguish the jump from its surroundings, especially in the evenings.
Spengler approached her previous employer, Bungle in Jungle, and current employer, Lowe’s, who offered to donate five gallons of paint to the cause. She also recruited volunteers from a variety of clubs at Newsome High School, including the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta.
The Gold Award is the Girl Scout’s counterpart to the more widely known Eagle Scout award and requires a scout to be a leader in her community and create a goal that will make a positive and lasting impact.
“The scout develops skills that will serve her well through life, including cooperation, team-building, project management and critical thinking,” said Helenius. “By earning the Gold Award, Girl Scouts become eligible for opportunities after high school, including scholarships, distinctive leadership training, a notable credit to their college applications, and, should the scout choose a career in the military, being able to enter at a higher rank than her peers.”
Thirty-five members of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida earned Gold Awards for 2017-18.
Anyone interested in learning more about Girl Scouts, should contact the Fossil Valley Service Unit of Girl Scouts at 281-GIRL. For more information, visit www.gswcf.org.