Red Cross Hometown Heroes: Girl Scouts honored with youth award

March 11, 2015 Updated: March 11, 2015 at 4:16 am
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photo - Girl Scouts, left to right, Rebecca Clark, Tristina Altman and Jordan Wilson at the summit of Pikes Peak August 23, 2014. The teens, members of Colorado Springs Girl Scout Troop 931, used their knowledge of the outdoors and the extra supplies they carried to help a group of unprepared Kansas hikers make it through a freezing night on the mountain. Courtesy photo
Girl Scouts, left to right, Rebecca Clark, Tristina Altman and Jordan Wilson at the summit of Pikes Peak August 23, 2014. The teens, members of Colorado Springs Girl Scout Troop 931, used their knowledge of the outdoors and the extra supplies they carried to help a group of unprepared Kansas hikers make it through a freezing night on the mountain. Courtesy photo 

"On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times

And to live by the Girl Scout Law."

Recited at every meeting, the Girl Scout Promise is a reminder to each member that her mission doesn't end when it's time to go home. For three members of Girl Scout Troop 931 in Colorado Springs, those words became deeds during a hike to the summit of Pikes Peak with their troop leader in August.

On the way back down the mountain, teens Rebecca Clark, Jordan Wilson and Tristina Altman met a couple of young Kansas hikers holed up at a campsite without food, water or knowledge to make it through a night in the wilderness - especially at altitude.

The Girl Scouts helped the hikers start a fire, then shared their food and water with the group of three teenage boys and two adults. The trio's potentially life-saving actions are a perfect example of the deeds and character the American Red Cross set out to celebrate with its Hometown Hero Awards.

Altman, Clark and Wilson are recipients of the 2015 youth award, presented to someone under 18 for "a compassionate response or life-saving skills that made an exceptional difference in, or saved the lives of, others."

"The aid that they gave to the stranded hikers demonstrated lifesaving skills, as well as providing care and comfort to those who were not prepared for a backcountry trek," said Tom Gonzalez, CEO of the Pikes Peak Red Cross Chapter. "They demonstrated the skills that they learned from their Girl Scout program, and then it was having the maturity to work with people that are older than themselves and not be intimidated by their age or by a difficult situation."

Another Girl Scout ideal they demonstrated: Be prepared, and not just for the obvious reasons.

One of the two boys that the girls encountered had signs of altitude sickness. The other had spilled his water and was wearing damp clothes in 40-degree temperatures. Disoriented from hypothermia, he was struggling to start a fire of damp branches.

Clark, Wilson and Altman had mastered outdoor skills such as campsite setup and emergency first aid; they even carried extra food, just in case.

"I learned it's nice to be prepared whether you get in trouble or not because somebody else might get in trouble and you can actually help them - not just have to sit there wishing you could help," said Clark. "We mainly told them to be more prepared next time, to make sure they have enough food and water and make sure you know what you're up against."

In other words, think like a Girl Scout.

"A lot of people think, 'Oh, Girl Scouts is just about the cookies,' but it's so much more," said Rebecca Clark's mom and troop leader Laura Clark, whose scouts nonetheless set an unofficial record in 2011 by selling more than 25,000 boxes in a single cookie season.

"These girls know how to set goals," she said.

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Contact Stephanie Earls: 636-0364

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