Recent recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, Ericka Shaw, 16, a senior at Smith-Cotton High School, hopes to some day become a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer.
Receiving a Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive, and Shaw, from Troop 30702, worked toward her’s by refurbishing and cleaning up the Prairie Queen Trail Outdoor Classroom at Parkview Elementary School. She received her award in June this year.
Weeds had overgrown the trail sign making it almost invisible, paint was faded on the sign and on the shelter and large plastic drums were floating in the small pond. Ericka had to use a high pressure water hose to remove the paint and then she stained both the shelter and the sign. She also used leadership skills to delegate and organize friends and family to help with some of the work.
“My brother got his kayak out and he got in the pond and got the containers out,” Shaw said.
Charlotte Scholl, Troop 30702 leader, said she thought Ericka and her group worked a total of more than 200 hours on the project.
“I had family and a few friends out here helping me every weekend that I was out here,” Shaw added. “We had about four or five weekends in a row that we were staining the shelter house, and I just got the sign put up a few weeks ago.”
Shaw, who loves camping, began as a Girl Scout in second grade as a Brownie.
“I took a couple years off, and I started up again my fifth grade year,” she said.
Gina Shaw, Ericka’s mother, said her father Bill was the one who helped the most with the project.
“He was the most involved with it,” she said.
“She has to show leadership, so she had to get people out here (and) tell them what to do,” Scholl added. “Then her dad had to show her how to do something and then she would do it. Then she would show (friends) how to do it.”
“I had never painted before,” Shaw said. “I still have pictures of my arms covered in freckles from the paint.”
Shaw said she believes she has learned much from the project.
“I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills, I learned patience,” she noted. “Learning to not get upset when somebody would call and say ‘oh hey I can’t show up today,’ That happened quite a bit, so I had to stay calm through that. As soon we got the show on the road we actually did a lot of work.”
Shaw said when she graduates she wants to be come a highway patrol trooper.
“I hope to be a good leader some day in all I do,” she added. “I want to be a Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper. I’ve been interested in doing police work. This past summer from May 31 to June 5, I participated in the Missouri State Highway Patrol Cadet Academy. The American Legion hosts it and they pick one person per city. My JROTC instructor Sgt. Major Randall Woods recommended me for that, and it kind of sparked an interest in me becoming a trooper.”
“Whatever she puts her mind to she does,” Shaw’s mother added.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1481 or @flbemiss.