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Glen Ellyn Girl Scout combines nature, art in library program to earn Gold Award

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 12:38 a.m. CDT

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GLEN ELLYN – Girl Scout Katie Bassett of Glen Ellyn has always loved doing crafts and spending time outdoors. This summer, she shared her passions with local children as part of a project to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.

“I really wanted kids to get excited about creating things because I love doing crafts and art and painting and all that, and I just wanted kids to enjoy it as much as I do,” said Bassett, 15. “I also love being outdoors, so I just thought of combining the two into some classes.”

Bassett held a series of seven classes on “Exploring Art and Nature” at the Glen Ellyn Public Library for fourth- through eighth-graders. Class activities included creating biodegradable planters and bird houses.

Bassett contacted the library in December about the possibility of offering the classes. After working with staff to determine which of her ideas would work best, Bassett set about bringing the program to life.

“Every step of the way, she confirmed that she would do everything we thought she would do,” library Youth Department Director Kate Pierson said.

While some materials were donated, much of what Bassett used in her classes was bought with funds she raised by selling more than 3,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Although Bassett has experience volunteering at her church for the Sunday and vacation bible school classes, this was her first time completely taking the reins as a teacher.

“It seemed like pretty much everyone enjoyed doing the projects, and it was really fun to teach them,” Bassett said.

As part of her Girl Scout Gold Award efforts, Bassett also is taking steps to improve the library’s butterfly garden by adding plants and creating stepping stones.

Her “Exploring Art and Nature” classes ended Aug. 8, and Bassett expects to be finished with her other projects in September.

She will receive her award at a ceremony in June after a review process by the Girl Scouts to ensure she has meet all the necessary qualifications in order to earn the Gold Award, which is the equivalent to achieving the Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout.

“I’m just very proud of her, and I knew this was a goal she could accomplish,” said Bassett’s mom, Ellen, who also serves as her Girl Scout troop leader.

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