ENTERPRISE, W.Va. (WBOY) — A Girl Scout from Harrison County has received the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive, according to a release from the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond. The award is given to scouts who make meaningful change in their community.

2022 graduate of Lincoln High School, Raelyn Vance, of Enterprise, created a project to address a lack of supplies at high school band camp and prepare young musicians for joining school bands.

Raelyn Vance
(Courtesy: Girl Scouts of Black Diamond)

Vance’s project, called Music for the Youth, included two parts. She created a “step-up” clinic to prepare students for the transition to middle school band. According to a Facebook post, 29 fifth-grade students utilized the clinic, and Lincoln Middle School Band Director, John Kimble, called it an “astounding success.”

She also installed a toolbox of supplies for Lincoln County High School band students to use during band camp. Vance remembered her own experience at band camp and thought it would save students stress when they forgot or ran out of personal items while at camp. The portable kit was first used in the summer of 2019 at band camp prior to the COVID-19 shutdown and will be used again at the camp in 2022.

“It’s a very good accomplishment because, you know, you have four years to work on it and having COVID in the way kind of pushed it back, and I was like ‘well, might as well get it done too now.’ It’s just nice knowing that I can help kids however long they keep this up. Hopefully, it’s a while,” said Vance.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and Raelyn exemplifies leadership in all its forms,” said Beth Casey, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond. “She saw a need in her community and took action. Her extraordinary dedication, perseverance and leadership is making the world a better place.”

According to Vance’s mother, during her career as a Girl Scout, Vance has also sold more than 12,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and earned her Girl Scout Silver Award in the eighth grade for her 50-hour project where she made bears out of microfiber cloths for WVU Children’s Hospital in Morgantown.

Vance will be continuing her education at West Virginia Wesleyan to continue her tennis career with the Bobcats. She plans to study elementary education.

The Girl Scout Gold Award has been awarded since 1916 to the highest achieving Girl Scouts. Gold Awards are a symbol of a Girl Scout’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others.