BERWYN – Madeline Crook of Berwyn is someone special, not only in Girl Scouting, but to the residents of the Cantata Adult Services senior living community in Brookfield as well.
Cantata hosted a tea celebration July 14 in honor of Crook, who, with Cantata residents, created a hook rug of the Illinois state bird, the northern cardinal, which will be displayed at Cantata's Assisted Living Building. Crook learned the latch hook process when she was 8 years old, and assisted residents in creating the rug.
"My mom taught me how to do it," Crook said. "All the residents who came, if they couldn't do it, I would just teach them the stitches."
Crook will be starting her freshman year at Augustana College in Rock Island in the fall where she will be studying pre-vet/biology and French.
Crook's volunteer efforts earned her Girl Scouting's highest achievement, the Gold Award. As part of the requirements to achieve the honor, Crook had to develop a seven-step project that educates and inspires others. Requirements included that the project take 80 hours to complete and that Crook chronicle each step of the project in the form of a book.
Crook began her trek down the Scouting path when she was in first grade at St. Mary's School in Riverside.
"Even after we graduated eighth grade we stuck together," she said. "Our Girl Scout leader, Mrs. Gail Lovero, always wanted us to get our Gold Ward. She was the big motivation behind us to start our projects."
In addition to her efforts to achieve the Gold Award, Crook has, over the years, made rosary bracelets for U.S.troops facing deployment, collected cell phones for troops to call home on Christmas and donated toys and supplies to shelters for women.
"I hope it's made me a better person," she said. "I hope, through all these experiences I've been given in Girl Scouts, they will allow me to help people all my life."