Local Girl Scout's project takes visitors on a walk through Forsyth County history, earns her high honors

Kimberly Bond

(FORSYTH COUNTY, GA) The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award that a Girl Scout can receive, earned by fewer than 6% of Girls Scouts each year. Clara Hamilton, a rising senior at Forsyth Central High School, recently joined this elite group after completing the new Forsyth County History Walk at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor Center.

Now open, the Forsyth County History Walk makes information about our area's past more accessible for visitors and residents. Thanks to its location outside the Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor Center, guests can stroll from sign to sign as they learn about different stages of local history. The signs discuss Native Americans, pioneer life, the county’s founding, and even present-day Forsyth County.

“I’m excited to see what the community does with the history they’ve learned,” Clara said, beaming as she gave a tour of the completed project.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 21, Clara was joined by friends, family, County leaders, and fellow members of Girl Scout Troop 11805 to celebrate her accomplishment. Green, gold, and white balloons added a festive touch to the ceremony, and bottled water and colorful paper fans were thoughtfully made available for guests on the warm summer morning.

Clara Hamilton and her Girl Scout troop leaders speak at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Forsyth County History Walk.(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

After Clara welcomed and thanked her guests, several speakers came forward to discuss the lasting impact of her project, praising her hard work, dedication, and leadership skills. The speakers included: Kristin Walden and Lisa Shoenfeld, Clara’s Girl Scout troop leaders; Mary Williams from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, who served as Clara’s Gold Star Award Coach; George Pirkle of the Forsyth County Historical Society and Matthew Pate from Forsyth County Parks and Recreation, who served as Clara’s Gold Award Project Advisors; and District Four County Commissioner Cindy Mills.

Clara Hamilton is joined by her troop leaders. Gold Star project advisors, and County leaders for the ribbon-cutting.(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

Clara first became interested in history after a childhood visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The different art styles first caught her eye, but as she learned more she realized she was also deeply fascinated by the stories of the different cultures who had made the artwork.

History is important to Clara because, as she says, “We grow from what we did in the past.” Clara plans to continue studying art history in college. Her future ambitions include perhaps becoming an art historian or museum curator.

Clara Hamilton gives a guided tour of the Forsyth County History walk to members of the next generation.(Photo/Kimberly Bond)

When asked how she felt about completing the project, Clara said she was happy and relieved, but admitted she was also a little sad that it was over.

"While the process of earning the Girl Scout Gold Award was not without challenges, it has been a rewarding experience as I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about my community and developing skills that will be vitally important to my success later in life,” Clara shared.

Who do you know doing excellent work in Forsyth County? Comment here or email kbondwriter@gmail.com to let us know.

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I'm a writer, editor, and journalist with a background in law and science. I love writing about interesting local places and events in Forsyth County, especially new businesses or family-friendly experiences.

Cumming, GA

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