It is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. The Gold Star Award is a long-standing tradition in the decades old organization and it is a symbol of years of hard work, persistence and dedication that two Cottage Grove girls now wear proudly.

Last week, the Cottage Grove City Council recognized Park High School graduate Hannah Birttnen and East Ridge grad Gwen Riemenschneider for their efforts in attaining the Girl Scout's highest achievement.

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"We appreciate everything you do and the fact that you are giving back to the community," Mayor Myron Bailey said as he presented the awards to both girls whose vests were covered in insignia.

For her final project, Birttnen, member of troop 51819 in Cottage Grove, filmed an American Sign Language video for Scouts who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"I made this video so that Girl Scouts will learn to sign to include deaf and hard of hearing girls into their troops," Birttnen said. "It's way for them to better communicate and help children to be included into other groups as well."

As a member of troop 53806 in Newport, Riemenschneider spent time fixing up the Newport Library and Community Center.

"It was run down so for my project I spruced it up," she explained. "We fixed up the shrubbery and it still looks nice today."

Riemenschneider also built a birdhouse display case and picnic table for the library grounds.

"We also put in an art cart with a bunch of art supplies so that local children can come and use it," she added.

As recipients of the Gold Award, both Birttnen and Riemenschneider's names will be added to the achievement wall at City Hall.

The Girl Scout Gold Award was instituted in 1916 and requires girls to plan and implement a "Take Action" project that, once complete, will reach beyond the scope of the organization and provide long-lasting positive impacts on their communities.