Sydney Degnon has been a Girl Scout since she was 6 and in first grade. Now 14, the Abington Heights freshman recently completed the requirements for the Girl Scouts Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn and the second highest award of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
She is a member of Troop 50800 and her troop leader is Laura Pease. She is the daughter of David and Courtenay Degnon and the granddaughter of Cindy McGuire and Elizabeth Sands.
“Your [Silver Award] project needs to show that you are organized, determined and dedicated to improving your community,” Degnon said. “You need to come up with the idea of how to help your community, submit your idea for approval and complete at least 50 hours of work on your project and present it before it is approved by our local council.”
She is now a Girl Scout Senior and is considering projects for her Gold Award, the highest Girl Scouts achievement.
To earn her Silver Award, she worked with Marley’s Mission, a non-profit organization that provides free equine-based therapy to children, and their families, who have experienced trauma.
“My mom is a volunteer for Marley’s Mission and helps with the Blue Ribbon Gala held in February,” Degnon said. “I asked Marley’s Mission what type of work they needed at the farm. “They had a few projects they needed help with. One of the projects was growing a new vegetable garden on their property.
“For my project, I established a fenced-in garden that will be used year after year to grow vegetables for the clients who attend therapy sessions at Marley’s Mission.”
She added that her entire family helped with the project.
“My dad taught me how to dig post holes, mix and pour concrete and how to build the flower beds,” she said. “My mom and brother [Kyle, 10] helped weed and plant.”
Sydney explained why she chose Marley’s Mission for her project.
“I am too young to help at the gala but I wanted to help them somehow, so I met with them and asked what I could do to help. I love horses and I love that they help kids through equine-assisted therapy. I really liked taking breaks from working on the garden to visit with the horses and their goat. I took lots of pictures of the horses.”
For her bronze award, she and other troop members worked together at the Gino Merli Veterans Center in Scranton. They spent time with the veterans playing cards with them and brought them Girl Scout cookies. They made gift bags for Halloween and Valentine’s Day and crocheted scarves for them for Christmas.
In addition to her involvement in Girl Scouts, Degnon plays the flute in the Abington Heights marching band and is on the school’s junior varsity volleyball team and varsity swim team.