Teen earns prestigious award

Published 6:05 pm Saturday, May 13, 2017

A member of a Suffolk-based American Heritage Girls troop has become only the 24th in Virginia to earn the organization’s highest honor for girls.

Allison Hackett, 17, the fourth of seven children of George and Trish Hackett, of Gates, N.C., is a member of Troop VA1412 of the American Heritage Girls, which meets twice a month at Southside Baptist Church.

She is the oldest member of the troop and one of the founding members. She is now a senior in high school and has been a member since eighth grade, but she has been involved in scouting since kindergarten.

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She said she likes American Heritage Girls, because it incorporates God into every aspect of the program.

“All the badges lead back to God,” she said. “Even if you’re cooking, they show you how you can glorify God.”

In order to earn the Stars and Stripes Award, Hackett had to complete a number of requirements.

She had to earn a total of 16 merit badges, hold a leadership position in her troop, write an essay and receive three letters of reference in order to receive the award.

One of the necessary merit badges was the Dolley Madison Award, which can be earned by organizing a multi-troop event. Hackett organized a rock-climbing event to earn the award.

Finally, Hackett had to complete a community-service project to earn the Stars and Stripes Award. To do so, she organized the construction of a prayer walk at Camp Rudolph in Sussex County.

Hackett directed a team of volunteers to clear a path through a wooded area for the prayer walk. She and her dad constructed display stations with a hinged door so that guidance on how to pray during the prayer walk can be changed out. The stations also feature boxes in which to place prayer requests. The team also made repairs to a gazebo near the prayer walk path.

Hackett had to plan the project and gather donations of money and materials to make it come to fruition. The team had two workdays in September to complete the project, and it just got by a group for the first time on April 29.

Hackett said her parents helped tremendously with the project, as did her siblings.

“My older siblings watched my younger siblings,” she said.

She is excited to have her Stars and Stripes Award. In addition to being the 24th in Virginia to earn the award, she is the 310th in the entire organization, which has existed for 21 years.

“It’s definitely exciting to finally have it,” she said.

Hackett, who is homeschooled, is a senior this year and plans to attend Mid-Atlantic Christian University and earn a degree in Bible and business.

Her troop leaders are proud of her.

“I think it’s amazing how much she’s accomplished,” said Krystle Talavera, troop coordinator. “It really shows a lot about her character. We’re really proud of Allie.”

“She is definitely a leader to the other young ladies,” said Shannon Arthur-Rorie, vice coordinator. “They look up to her.”