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September 14, 2004 > Fremont Teen Receives Girl Scout Gold Award

Fremont Teen Receives Girl Scout Gold Award

by Linda Stone

Washington High School senior Heather Coon held a community workshop for girls 15 years and older on basic car repair and safety to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.

Twenty girls attended the workshop on Sept. 4, held at the Evangelical Free Church in Fremont to learn basic automotive skills including how to change oil and filters, changing a tire and how to make an emergency toolkit. Officer Frank Noey of the Fremont Police Department gave a class on car safety.

Coon believed there was a need for this type of workshop, "I was lucky to have a dad that's very gifted with mechanical work on cars...and he taught me all of this basic information that I think everyone should know." She feels that many girls are not knowledgeable about cars and thought it would be helpful for many of her peers.

Three stations allowed participants to engage in interactive training. Coon's parents donated two of their cars and a cousin donated the third. Each station was set up so that the girls could get hands-on experience. They received instruction sheets for each procedure and then crawled under and over the cars to change the oil, filters and tires.

Many of the younger girls were getting ready to apply for a driving permit. "They were more interested than some of the older girls because in one of the informational stations we had information on how to obtain your permit, register your car and get your license," said Coon.

AAA auto insurance company donated book covers and key chains as well as an informational packet on DUI.(Driving Under the Influence).

Coon is in her 12th year as a Girl Scout. She has had the same troop leader, Riki Cavanaugh, since her days as a Brownie. Coyote Hills Association Troop 2710 serves girls in Fremont and Newark They are actively involved with the Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area council helping to plan camping trips and serving as camp counselors.

For Coon, the most important thing that she has gained from her scouting experience is confidence and leadership skills. "I was really able to step up to the plate on this project and everything ran smoothly," said Coon. "Basically, you get a lot of opportunities that you wouldn't get in everyday life...I know with my personal experience I've been able to go rock climbing, backpacking, white water rafting [and] meet a whole bunch of girls from outside the country."

Many girls who receive the Gold Award go on to become leaders in the community and the United States Armed Services at advanced levels and salaries. The achievements of Award recipients are acknowledged by many governmental entities and non-profit organizations.

For more information on local Girl Scout activities and opportunities, visit or call (510) 562-8470.

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