PITTSTON — When Alexia Mazzarella joined Girl Scouts at the age of 12, she strived to receive the Girl Scouts Gold Award.
Six years later, her dream came true.
The now-18-year-old Pittston resident received the Gold Award by starting a volunteer club at her high school, Holy Redeemer, called the Royal Service Club.
She is a member of Troop 34958 out of Laflin.
“I think that it’s really rewarding,” Mazzarella said of receiving the award. “Everything that you did leading up to this and all of the different activities, it culminates to this. It was a fun process and you make a lot of friends from it. It was really rewarding to get it and really exciting to be able to accomplish that much.”
According to Girl Scouts of the USA, only 5.4 percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award, the highest honor a Scout can receive.
To be eligible, Mazzarella said Scouts can complete two “journeys,” which include completing several activities through certain books, or have a Silver Award, which includes completing one “journey” and a 50-hour service project that leaves a lasting impact on the community.
Once the Scout is eligible, they then can complete their service project and achieve their Gold Award, which was the Royal Service Club for Mazzarella.
The Royal Service Club started in March and has 35 members. The club has collected over 300 coats for St. Vincent DePaul Clothes Outlet in Wilkes-Barre, volunteered at Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge in Dallas and at the United Way in Wilkes-Barre.
Her reason for starting the club was a way to give back to the community after taking a summer course at King’s College last year and learning about Wilkes-Barre.
“(My professor) said that in Wilkes-Barre there’s so many people in poverty right now and they need a lot of help,” she said. “There’s organizations that are looking for volunteers all the time, and I didn’t even know about half of them. I was like, OK, these are all right down the street from my high school and I don’t even know they’re there. Now that I’m aware, what can I do to help them out more? I thought that could be part of the outreach at my school for starting this club.”
Mazzarella, a graduating senior, will attend Penn State University in the fall, but plans to continue the Royal Service Club.
“We are going to have an end of the year meeting coming up to discuss how we can continue through the summer and into next year,” she said. “We’re going to appoint two leaders to take our place, and the other co-leader I have is going to King’s College; so he’ll be around locally and he will come back to the school to be an adult advisor to make sure it keeps going.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher