Elaine Hutchins of Winter Harbor, a senior at Ellsworth High School, has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor — the Gold Award. STEPHANIE DORR PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

Girl Scout honored for her literacy work

ELLSWORTH — Elaine Hutchins of Winter Harbor recently earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest national award a Girl Scout can earn. In earning the award, Hutchins demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational and networking skills.

Through research, Hutchins noticed a need for enhancing literacy in children’s homes. She wanted to help address the issue in her local school community. With the guidance of her project advisors, Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School kindergarten teacher Susan Frost and K-4 librarian Jamie Reid, Hutchins created 54 themed literacy bags for kindergarten students to check out weekly at the school library. The themed literacy bags included books for families to read to their child as well as leveled books for students to read to their families. There also was an academic activity to use as well. Hutchins also used the literacy bags with younger students in the after school program.

Once the pandemic forced schools to go to remote learning, Hutchins continued to read to kindergarten students online. The literacy bags will be given the kindergarten classrooms at the elementary school for future use.

It’s not easy to earn Girl Scouting’s highest leadership award. There is no shortcut; completing the award’s multiple requirements takes over 80 hours. The final requirement is a significant service project with lasting impact. The Girl Scout Gold Award is a nationally recognized symbol of leadership.

Hutchins, the daughter of Lisa and Fred Backman of Winter Harbor, has been a Girl Scout in Ellsworth Troop 174 in the Frenchman’s Bay Service Unit since she was a Daisy in kindergarten. Throughout her years in Girl Scouts, she has completed many volunteer hours and has earned many Girl Scout badges. Hutchins also has earned the second and third highest awards in Girl Scouts. She earned her Bronze Award as a Junior Girl Scout and earned her Silver Award as a Cadette Girl Scout. Hutchins is a senior at Ellsworth High School and Hancock Country Technical Center. She is studying health occupations at HCTC. Hutchins completed her certified nursing assistant certification over the summer and has been working at Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility. She is also a member of the National Technical Honor Society. She has participated in soccer, tennis, Spanish club, math team, art club and the garden club.

A special Gold Award award ceremony has been postponed until the spring 2021 due to the pandemic.

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