Chelsea Christiansen and Alexandra Chorney relieved their Gold Awards, the highest award given in Girl Scouts, during a May 6 ceremony at Zion Hill Lutheran Church, Zion Hill.The girls are both members of Girl Scout Troop 391, part of the Richland Service Unit and the Freedom Valley Council.

Christiansen, a senior at Palisades, and Chorney, a junior at Southern Lehigh, have been involved in scouting since they were in first grade.

In order to obtain the award, the girls had to design and complete a service project.

Chorney's worked with Animals in Distress, a no-kill animal shelter in Coopersburg for her project.

Her project was to create three cat ladders for the animals of the shelter.

She designed, constructed and painted the ladders. Her project took more than 65 hours of work to complete.

Christiansen renovated a room at Turning Point, a domestic violence shelter in the Lehigh Valley.

The project took in excess of 78 hours to complete, and included painting the room, putting up blinds, and making bed spreads and pillows for the six beds in the room.

Both girls got their start in scouts at a young age. With their mothers friends, and their older brothers both Eagle Scouts, it seems only fitting that Christiansen and Chorney got involved in scouting as soon as they could.

"I always loved going to his meetings, so I decided to try girl scouts," said Chorney, who began in first grade.

But the journey was not without challenges, both girls identify one of the hardest struggles being the drive to stay involved.

While Boy Scouts receive little flak about their after school hobby in high school, both girls admitted that being a girl scout does lose some of the cool appeal once high school rolls around.

As the girls got older, questions like "Where's your little sister?" began popping up while trying to sell cookies, but with the support of their mothers, each other and their eyes on the gold, the girls stuck with the program, knowing that it would pay off in the end.

"If Alex wasn't in it, I probably would have dropped out a while ago," said Christiansen, citing the friendship between the two as a huge motivator in staying involved in scouting.

"We were always there for each other," said Christiansen.

"It definitely brought us a lot closer," said Chorney about scouting helping their friendship to grow.

And with scouts behind them now, the girls are confident that the bonds forged over most of their lives will stay firmly in place.

"We're always going to stay close," said Christiansen.

"There's no doubt about that," added Chorney.

And in retrospect, the girls know that the journey may not have been always easy, but they know whole experience was worth it.

"Now that I look back on it I'm glad I stuck it out," said Chorney.

The girls will now encounter a brave new world: a Thursday evening with no girl scout meeting.

"For the past 13 years of my life, every Thursday night, I've been going to meetings," said Chorney.

At the time of this interview, both girls were just hours away from their last meeting.

"Wow Thursday night and nothing to do," said Chorney quoting herself in the fall of 2007, when she thinks it will really sink in that her scouting days are over.

Chorney will be a senior at Southern Lehigh this fall.

Christiansen plans on attending to Arcadia University in the fall. She will spend her first semester studying aboard in London.

David P. Anderson is the editor of The Free Press. He can be reached at tfp@berksmontnews.com.

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