Girl Scout creates a bench mark


News staff writer

September 2, 2006

Becky Morus fit together shards and pieces of tile to create colorful mosaics for benches.

The Hood River teen has been working in her family’s garage as other youth gambol about in the final days before school begins. As friends rode up on their bikes to visit and then left, Morus turned to the task at hand.

She had set up the back side of the bench so it rested flat across the armrests of another. The bench had a penciled drawing of a mountain and grapes for a basic outline.

Morus selected tile circles the size of quarters and nickels. Each piece she was working with for that particular bench was purple to represent the wineries of the region. She spackled a dab of epoxy on the bottom and pressed the circle firmly on the board.

“I had to paint tile, as well, to get some of the colors I needed because they don’t make it in this purple for grapes or the pink for the salmon,” she said.

Morus needs to finish her project by September in order to complete the final step for her Girl Scout Gold Award.

The youth organization requires Girl Scouts ages 14 to 18 to come up with a project fulfilling a need within the community. Senior Girl Scouts have until September of their senior year in high school to complete the task. Since Morus graduated in June, she had until this September to finish.

Morus had more to do than design the benches. She also has had to use skills in organizing, leadership, and networking.

“I had many different ideas I was going to go with, but I noticed various parks didn’t have an area for sitting,” she said. “I added the Columbia Gorge theme into it.”

She chose designs that represented a variety of landscapes in Hood River County. One bench has fish swimming up the Columbia River. Another bench shows a windsurfer against the backdrop of Mount Hood, while one includes a pear and apple motif.

“I’m really art-oriented, which is why I chose more of an art project than leadership,” she said.

But Morus also had to use leadership skills by taking responsibility to find someone to help build the benches and assist her in the designs. Larry Madsen and Shelley Toon-Hight helped with those respective tasks.

Morus is the only Senior Girl Scout doing the project — she is also the sole Senior Girl Scout in the county. “I love Girl Scouts, though, because you have so many opportunities to participate and learn things you wouldn’t on your own,” she said.

She said she hasn’t completely decided where the benches will go but plans to place them before leaving for college.

Morus will start at the University of Oregon this fall studying theater arts and religious studies.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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