By Linda Scherer
LESTER PRAIRIE, WINSTED, MN Ana Hartwig, Lester Prairie 2010 graduate and former Winsted ambassador, loves to read, “a lot.”
Because she understands the value of reading, she focused earning her Girl Scout Gold Award on childhood literacy and comprehension. She titled her project, “Ana’s Story Time Adventures.”
“I really wanted to instill a love of reading in all of the children,” Hartwig said.
During her story times, she read to the children incorporating techniques that build comprehension and vocabulary skills. She also gave each of the children a bag to take home with fun items like a book, colors, and a handbook for parents to help them work with their children on their own.
For her efforts, Hartwig, daughter of Greg and Sue Hartwig of Winsted, was presented her Girl Scout Gold Award at an awards banquet in Owatonna May 23. The award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.
Recently, Hartwig also learned that she was awarded a scholarship for her community service on the project from the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valley.
She began her gold project in the summer of 2009. It took a number of hours of work just to apply for the award.
“It is a very big commitment,” Hartwig said of starting the project. “A lot of girls don’t actually follow through with this.”
Some of the things she hoped to accomplish through her project are to increase the number of users of the school library, encourage children to read in the summer, reach out to lower-income families, and advance literacy in children by using techniques learned to excite children through active lesson plans.
She chose themes for her story time jungle, bug, and fish then picked several books on each theme. After reading the stories, there was a game, and a craft project.
Her first story time was at Lester Prairie School Library, July 21, 2009. Later, she presented her story adventures to several daycares.
To receive the gold award, her project had to total at least 65 hours of work, but when Hartwig was done, she had more than 90 hours of her time invested.
Hartwig has been in Girl Scouts since she became a Brownie in first grade.
Previously, she earned the Girl Scout’s bronze and silver awards.
“It has been something fun to do,” Hartwig said about her time in Girl Scouts. “And it’s mommy-and-me-time.”
Hartwig said her mother was a Girl Scout leader all 12 years she participated.
For the last couple of years, Hartwig has enjoyed volunteering her time to help the younger Girl Scouts earn their badges.
For one troop, Hartwig volunteered to help them earn their sewing badges by showing the girls how to sew pillow cases.
Hartwig will attend North Dakota State University this fall. She is majoring in radiologic science to study to be an x-ray technician and do MRIs.
Later, she would like to go to medical school, and instead of taking the images, she wants to learn to read and interpret them.
At the Winsted Ambassadors’ coronation Aug. 8, Hartwig was chosen to be a queen candidate for the 2011 Aquatennial.