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Minnesota National Guard
Girl Scout expands Camp Ripley environmental classroom

April 26, 2010 is a day that Maggie Kenna will always remember; it's a day that she has worked toward her whole life  It's the day she received her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of America at Camp Ripley, Minn, the highest and most coveted award in all of Girl Scouting and one that less than seven percent of all Girl Scouts will achieve 

"I am really proud of her," said Mary Kenna, Maggie's mother  "Girl Scouts has always been a part of her life"
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Maggie work very hard to achieve this goal in her life  She started out in Girl Scouts as a Daisy Scout and work all the way to the top  Before her family moved to Little Falls, Minn they did their homework to ensure there was a Troop for her to continue her scouting life  Scouting is not just something for Maggie either it is a true family affair 

Maggie's mother, father and sister are all deeply involved in scouting  During Maggie's ceremony her mom and dad recapped many great family stories about scouting  From the first camping trip Mary took the girls on, to the countless cases of cookies her dad helped carry 
Maggie's sister is not far behind her in the ranks either

To achieve the Gold Award in Girl Scouts a scout must complete a service project  This project however is not something the scouts take lightly  It has to be reviewed by a board and approved  It also has to be something that the scout is very passionate about 

"Maggie has a real love for the environment," said Marty Skoglund, Minnesota National Guard Environmental Program Manager  "Having her Gold Award Project tie into our Environmental Classroom here at Camp Ripley was a perfect fit"

The project idea can be tied back to a conversation that started a picnic table in Marty's yard over three years ago as Maggie came over from next door to have a chat with Marty  Marty and Maggie just sat at the table and brainstormed ideas about what she could do for her project and how she could tie her project into something that would involve the environment but also leave a lasting impression on the world  It wasn't long after this chat that Maggie hit the ground running and started to research on her own  Her family went on trips to museums and different nature centers and Maggie always came home with more ideas  After about a year of doing her homework and research Maggie came back to Marty and his staff with a packet of her ideas

"She prepared a very professional portfolio with her ideas for projects that would enhance the environmental classroom at Camp Ripley and gave us a great presentation," said Marty  "This young lady has incredible follow through and impressed me with her ideas"
Maggie had over twenty ideas when she went to the Environmental Staff at Camp Ripley they prioritized them down and took on six of them 

The classroom now has an animal skull and skin interaction area, a tree identification area, a bear den, a multimedia screen as well as poster displays 

"She has helped us to make the classroom better place for our Soldiers, their families and our community and she really expanded our capabilities," said Marty

The environmental staff at Camp Ripley put in well over 1,000 hours into the project but none of it would have been capable without Maggie's leadership and her drive  She has made an impact on Camp Ripley and for years to come with everyone that visits the Marty J Skoglund Environmental Classroom at Camp Ripley

By 1st Lt Kenneth R Toole
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
April 26, 2010

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