Oakley resident Angie Braun, a 17-year-old Senior Girl Scout, this month earned the organization's highest achievement, the Gold Award, for teaching her sister Scouts and members of the community how to make quilts, and then donated more than 40 of the lap-sized creations to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Concord.
The organization takes in children temporarily separated from their parents on an emergency basis due to domestic violence, custody disputes or other issues.
Angie started her project last August, wanting to contribute something bigger than when she earned the Silver Award two years earlier. (For that, she collected and donated 3,075 books to Children's Hospital).
"I loved doing crafts, but nothing I knew would help people," Angie said. "So I learned how to quilt and we taught 20 or 30 people how to quilt, too."
She and her mother, Renee, took quilting classes and then Angie collected the needed supplies. She taught her Brentwood Troop 2676 how to quilt, set up a community quilting bee at the Mormon Church in Oakley and she proceeded to teach the craft to more people of all ages. The group put together 17 quilts that day and the rest were taken home by volunteers to finish.
The goal was 25 quilts, but Angie ended up with 45. Residents donated batting, squares of material and notions as well as their time sewing. Wal-Mart in Antioch donated a $100 gift card, which was used to purchase material for the backs of the quilts.
"She does everything she's required to do and she does more," said Angie's Troop Leader Wanda Earl, who helped guide Angie's project. "She's a perfectionist."
Earning the Gold Award is no easy feat. Like its counterpart, the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts, it is a prestigious honor: only two percent of Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award, the same percentage of Boy Scouts who make Eagle. Benefits include being recognized by local, state and federal government officials, moving up in rank faster in the armed forces and it is documented as community service on a college application.
The Girl Scout must log 60 hours for the actual project, 30 hours of leadership, 30 hours of community service, complete three badges and three charms related to the award, create a timeline, figure out what she needs to complete the project, reach out to the community for donations and have it all approved by the Girl Scout Council in San Francisco.
Renee Braun has enjoyed working with her daughter on the project, and watching Angie and her sister Scouts grow as they gained new skills individually and as a group.
"It's nice they learned something that their grandmothers could have taught them and that they can think about her in the process," Angie said.
Seeing so many enjoy the craft was a huge reward for Angie.
"Some (more) people know how to quilt now," said Angie who has become addicted to the craft herself. "And some just can't stop quilting."