Girl Scouts, known for selling cookies, do more than that. The Girl Scout Award is the highest honor earned annually by fewer than 3,000 Girl Scouts in the entire U.S. who have demonstrated superior leadership, organization and a higher commitment to community service. Gold Award projects cover a range of issues from anti-bullying campaigns to tutoring to promoting healthy behaviors.
On Oct. 21, at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, D.C.’s Northern Virginia Ronald McDonald House (RMH), the Girl Scout Gold Award was presented to Sydney Alyssa Lehrman from Vienna for her project “Awakening the Palate: Adding Spice to Life.” For the project, Lehrman designed, created and planted a raised herb garden in the inner-courtyard of the Ronald McDonald House. This “home away from home” provides a place for up to eight families to stay so that they can be close to their critically ill child staying at nearby hospitals. As a volunteer at the RMH, she recognized families and volunteers who prepare home-cooked meals lacked an essential ingredient for flavor—fresh herbs. Because her love for cooking began early, Lehrman knew fresh basil, savory or sage could make the difference between whether a child and parents would continue beyond that first bite. Lehrman was determined to make meals taste good and offers, through her project which took over 80 hours from inception through completion, 10 different fresh herbs for use by that community. Lehrman also worked with a registered dietician to create a recipe book, now used by those who volunteer in the RMH kitchen, which showcases the fresh herbs in each of the entrees. Lehrman also planted thyme, fennel, parsley, dill, mint, chives and oregano. The garden will be maintained by volunteers, including freeze-drying current herbs for use throughout the winter months. Local Girl Scout troops will be given the opportunity to replant the garden each spring for a continual harvest.
“Sydney is an amazing young lady, with a giving heart. We are so pleased that she was honored with this award. And we are honored that she chose to give back to our families in such a thoughtful way. Our families and volunteers will enjoy her great herb garden for years to come,” said Claudia J. Lewis, director of Community Relations.
Lehrman, daughter of Robert and Margie Lehrman of Vienna, is a 2013 James Madison High School graduate. She is currently a freshman at Christopher Newport University, studying psychology to prepare her for a career in pediatric occupational therapy. She has been a member of Vienna Girl Scout Troop 1060 since elementary school.