PUBLISHED: 5:29 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Juneau Girl Scouts earn highest award
Ariel Lyon 17, and Shea Wilcox 17, received the highest award in Girl Scouting in a ceremony May 13th at the House of Wickersham for their demonstrated leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment. In addition to an initial year spent completing general requirements to achieve the award, the two scouts spent two years researching, designing and developing a website of teen resources as a final project to make a lasting difference in the community.

The scouts realized there was a desperate need for information on local resources after seeing friends run away from home, drop out of school, become sexually active, and turn to drugs and alcohol. After conducting an assessment of youth needs, the scouts compiled information on over 100 services and activities in the Juneau area, detailing where to go for help with health, school and family problems; sexual issues; job searches; transportation needs; as well as where to volunteer, find fun things to do and places to hang out. The information is available on the Internet at A portion of the website has been printed in a booklet, with funding from Communities In Schools, available at the Juneau Teen Health Center.

The project earned state and national recognition for excellence when Ariel Lyon was selected in February as Alaska's top high school youth volunteer, for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. The program, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and Prudential Financial, honors young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism, and is the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service.

Lyon attended a recognition ceremony at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. this month, after being selected to represent Alaska based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

"Volunteering gives us that sense of place and worth that we might otherwise look for in all the wrong places," stated Lyon in her remarks at the Global Youth Service day celebration held in Anchorage this month.

Lyon encouraged other youth to get involved in community service, and to be recognized to show how many positive contributions youth make, to overcome the negative images of youth often portrayed in the media. Last year, approximately 5,500 girls received the Girl Scout Gold Award. That was around 5.4% of the eligible registered Girl Scouts in grades 10-12.

"Many people think that Girl Scouts is just about selling cookies," stated Julia Erickson, CEO of Tongass Alaska Girl Scouts at the Gold Award ceremony. "Girl scouts is all about creating young leaders, and these girls exemplify the courage, confidence, and character of true leaders in our community."

The TRAIN program at AWARE (Teens Resisting Abuse and Initiating Non-violence) will be maintaining the website and updating resources on the website. For more information call TRAIN at 586-5920. Comments are welcome on the website in the "about us" section. For more information on volunteer tips, project ideas, and application for the 2009 Spirit of Community Awards, visit, or