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Girl Scout creates a bench mark

By SUE RYAN

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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