Meet Rylee D. of troop 1309 in DeWitt, Arkansas! She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and recently earned her Gold Award.
Rylee started her Girl Scouts journey when a flyer was sent home for school about signups. “I knew immediately I wanted to join because my two older brothers were Cub Scouts.” Her favorite part of Girl Scouts is traveling with her troop. “In my troop as we reach the highest award at each level, we go on trips. When we earned our Bronze Award we visited Branson, Missouri. After our Silver Award, we visited Savannah, Georgia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This summer our Gold Award recipients will travel to New York.” Rylee’s favorite trip so far has been to Savannah where she visited the birthplace of Girl Scouts.
Rylee feels that the Girl Scout program has helped shape her into the person she is today. “It has allowed me to find my inner strengths, step into leadership roles, and given me the confidence needed to not be afraid to try new things and go after my goals.”
Rylee’s Gold Award project, S.W.I.N.G (Service With Impact for a New Generation) was about educating the younger generation on handicap awareness and inclusion.
“I believe addressing the younger generation can get a ‘jump start’ on acceptance and inclusion for those that are differently-abled. This will hopefully lead to less bullying and exclusion due to a lack of understanding. Inclusive play is a great place to foster that acceptance,” Rylee shares. This is why my project included purchasing a wheelchair swing, that can accommodate both youth and adult chairs, for my city park, which previously had no handicap equipment. Now the park can serve a wider range of needs across the generations.”
While working on her Gold Award, Rylee was awarded the Good Deed Award by the American Legion Auxiliary for outstanding community service. She received the award at both local and state levels and was honored as the 2019 Citizen of the Year in south Arkansas County. “To any girls who are currently working on their Gold Award project, I think it’s important to start working on it early! Just like in life, your project will have unforeseen hiccups and obstacles and time goes quicker than you think.”
In addition to Girl Scouts, Rylee also cheers for the DeWitt Dragons, is the captain of the color guard, is student council president and is part of the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Council Advisory Team. She also enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing the piano, watching Netflix and shoe shopping! After high school, Rylee plans to attend Phillips County Community College for her basics and then transfer to the University of Central Arkansas to obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy.