Sometimes it seems like nothing can really go too wrong in a small town. The businesses are usually family owned, the streets quiet, and the entire community comes together to cheer on the high school football team. But for Buford, South Carolina, tragedy shook the town when a 14 year-old football player was fatally struck by a car just before a JV football game.
Nicole Hudson, Girl Scout Alumni, remembers this day so clearly. She was in her Junior year of high school and had a volleyball game on the same night. Because of both games, the parking lot was packed with cars. Tragically, the small town didn’t have a helipad, and the crowded parking lot made it impossible for a helicopter to lift the young football player to a hospital.
As a Girl Scout, even through her grief, Nicole saw a clear need in her community and set her mind to making it a better place. Nicole had considered pursuing her Gold Award before, but just hadn’t found something she felt so passionate about. Now her goal was unshakable. She would build the first helipad in Buford, South Carolina. If all the work it would take only saved one life, it would be more than worthwhile.
Nicole started with research. No matter how many ways she cut it, the bottom line was this: She would have to raise at least $8,000 to make her vision a reality. For a sixteen year old who had never even held $8,000 in cash, the goal seemed insurmountable.
But Call after call, Nicole poured her heart out for anyone that would listen. The donations were sometime small, but it seemed that everyone she spoke to connected with her dream. They connected in such a way that Nicole’s dream became their own dream. The momentum exploded. This small town teen raised the $8,000 and even more, she rallied the community around her vision. Through her own manual labor, combined with the help of numerous volunteers, they cleared the land for the concrete to be poured.
“Even as a young female, I was able to make a real difference. Girl Scouts has given me the opportunity to literally save lives. It changes the way I live my life now.” -Nicole Hudson”
When it came time for Nicole to attend her Gold Award Ceremony, this award was so much more than an accolade in a frame. The Gold Award represented the heart of Nicole’s accomplishments; leading with courage, confidence, and character. Making the world a better place.
Nicole is now away at college, but each time she comes home to Buford, she is reminded of the power of community, and the difference one person can make.
“My dad is a volunteer firefighter in Buford. Every time I come home and hear his radio go off, I have no doubt that all the hours and hard work were worth it.” -Nicole Hudson
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award. Girls who earn this award are required to spend at least 80 hours researching, presenting, and working their projects. Girls who earn the Gold Award are eligible for additional scholarships and enter the military one rank higher.