Andover Girl Scouts Lydia Mesler and Maria Tornatore received their Girl Scout Gold Award pins from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts on June 20.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout can achieve, and it recognizes a service project that fulfills a need within a girl's local or global community, creates change, and becomes ongoing.
To earn the award, girls must complete the Scout's Silver Award plus a minimum of 80 hours of service.
The project is more than a good service project - it encompasses organizational, leadership and networking skills, according to the Girl Scouts. Just 5 percent of all Girl Scouts earn this award each year.
Mesler's project, Geocache Away, was inspired by her love of the outdoors. She worked with Wood Hill Middle School's Girl Adventure Club to plan and implement lessons on basic orienteering skills, such as using a compass and reading a map. She learned GPS instruction and use, hiking safety and how to plan, build and solve a geocache course.
Mesler also created a more affordable version of the program — one that does not require technology — for the YMCA's Camp Nokomis. Both organizations plan to continue to utilize and build upon the curriculum Mesler and her team of volunteers created, according to the Scouts.
Tornatore's project, Stitching for Comfort, created small pillows to be used by women who have received mastectomies to protect their surgical site from car seat-belt pressure.
Tornatore worked with a group of community volunteers to collect donated fabric, which they used to create colorful pillows for patients. Each pillow is hand-crafted and individually packaged, and includes a note of encouragement such as "Feel Better" and "Get Well Soon."
The pillows created by Tornatore and her team were donated to Lawrence General Hospital, and members of the Andover Senior Center plan to continue the project.