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Local scout earns top award

After two years of preparing and another year of waiting for the ceremony, River Falls resident and Girl Scout Annie Stewart finally received her Gold Award Sunday, June 12.

The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

One year ago, Stewart held a fair in Ezekiel Lutheran Church's dining room.

There was a cooking demonstration, presentations on healthy snacks and living a healthier lifestyle by a dietician from the River Falls Area Hospital who gave and handouts on healthy eating.

Stewart also distributed free copies of a cookbook she created with healthy, easy-to-make recipes.

"I had wanted to show the rest of the community that it's possible to eat healthy on a budget," said Stewart, a 2011 graduate of Mounds Park Academy in Maplewood.

Stewart worked with local chef Tony Leone of The West Wind Supper Club, and the River Falls Community Food Pantry to create her cook book.

She made sure the recipes could be made with foods available from the food pantry.

The recipes are all easy to cook. Many can even be made without a stove.

Stewart and her father tried many of the recipes themselves. Stewart said her personal favorite is a chili recipe.

"I just like it because it's really simple, but it tastes really good, and it's filling," said Stewart.

It took Stewart a year to prepare the event last summer, and another year before that to complete all the leadership, career exploration and community service prerequisite that Girl Scouts are required to complete before attempting a Gold Award project.

After finishing the project, Stewart had to wait for the rest of the girls in the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys councils to finish their projects, before the award ceremony on June 12.

"It is just really good to be done and to have gotten the award," Stewart said.

"It's taught me all the different steps that I need to take in order to do this type of event and it's also given me a lot of self confidence and shown me how to be a good leader."

In addition to the fair, Stewart held two fundraisers to collect money and canned goods for the food pantry. She raised $100 and 10 bags of food.

Stewart was one of 136 girls to receive their Gold Awards this spring.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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