Young Diné earns highest award as a Girl Scout, meets Obama

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, November 1, 2012

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(Courtesy photo)

Diana Greymountain recently earned the gold award for Girl Scouts of the USA, the highest honor any girl scout can receive, after creating a walking trail and guide to the Hanging Garden site at the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Ariz.

D iana Greymountain has already earned a bronze and silver award as a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

But now, the 16-year-old can proudly say that she's been able to secure the gold award – the highest award a Girl Scout can receive – for a summer project she completed, in which she produced an official walking trail and guide to the Hanging Garden site at the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Ariz.

The Hanging Garden is a hidden rich fern-covered wall within the Glen Canyon Dam. Before Greymountain's project, no trails lead directly to the garden.

"Earning the Girl Scout Gold award was a very special experience and I feel very honored that I'm the first Navajo to earn the Girl Scout gold award," she said.

A ribbon cutting for the trail was held on Sept. 27.

On Oct. 4, Greymountain went through her final interview with the Girl Scouts board and was told she met all the requirements to receive her award. Because of this award, she has now earned the title, "Ambassador Scout."

"I am very proud of her," said Greymountain's mother Geraldine Calamity. "She did it, she actually really did it."

Greymountain is Zuni/Edgewater and born for Bitterwater.

Of her the project that helped secure her award, Greymountain said, "My idea came from getting lost on the trail," adding that she and her family ended up down by the lake rather than by the Hanging Garden last December.

"Since there is no physical trail around, people were hurting the environment around them and hurting the vegetation," Greymountain said of the main reason why she felt a trail would be a good project.

Greymountain went through a seven-step process to earn her award. She first needed to identify an issue or community project, investigate it, get help, create a plan of action, present that plan to the Girl Scout council for approval, put that plan into action, and then finally educate and inspire people to help with the project.

"I wanted to really help out and made sure she had every opportunity to get the gold award," said Betsy Scroggs, interpretive specialist at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Greymountain's mentor.

Greymountain said when she got all her paperwork in order, it was time to construct the trail. So in April, Greymountain and volunteers arranged rocks to create an attractive foot trail to Hanging Garden. She was also responsible for designing a trailhead sign that was installed by the National Park Service.

After the trail was complete, Greymountain also created a trail guide for hikers, which also educated them on the different plants and animals found along the trail.

"I was just so proud of her," Scroggs said. "She went through the whole process and she did it."

Greymountain has been a member of the Girl Scouts for almost 12 years. She said she originally joined because one of her close friends, but now over a decade later, "It turned into more than just being there with a friend."

Greymountain said that since she's been in the Girl Scouts, she's gained leadership skills that will benefit her in the future, long lasting friendships, and a boost of confidence and self-esteem.

In addition to the trail, Greymountain also created a documentary of her life as a young Navajo woman in the Girl Scouts and how it has had a positive effect on her life.T

In April, the film was featured at the Girl Scouts Convention in New York City and played in front of thousands.

As a result, Greymoutain was asked by the CEO of Girl Scouts of America Anna-Maria Chavez to accompany her to the White House to meet President Barack Obama in May. She was one of five Girl Scouts selected.

"It was very exciting. I was the only person chosen from this side of the country. The other four girls that went were from the East Coast," she said. "It was a really good feeling because I really admire the president. It was an amazing, unbelievable feeling."

"She was so amazed by him," said Calamity about her daughter's reaction to meeting Obama.

"I am thankful for all the leaders she's had," Calamity added. "She can accomplish anything that she wants to. She's her own person and I am very proud of her."

In March of next year, Greymountain will receive her Gold award pin in Phoenix.

Greymountain's film it can be found on YouTube by searching, "Navajo Girl Scout Diana Greymountain."

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