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Girl Scout gives camp a tri, earns Gold Award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachelle Morris
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

For this soon-to-be upperclassman, her decade long dedication to Girl Scouts started at six, but it wasn’t necessarily her idea.

“When you are younger, you go to the events your mom drives you to,” said Kate Kinard, daughter of Sam Kinard, 51st Medical Group, and Lt. Col. Jonathan Kinard, Seventh Air Force. “My mom was a girl scout, so when a troop was started at my school, my mom signed me up.”

As a military child, she admits it was a blessing in disguise.

“When you are a military kid, it can be hard to get involved because you are moving so much and you don’t have anything sustainable,” she said. “But with girl scouts, every time we moved, it was a built-in group of friends and if you joined a troop before the school year started, you had summer friends.”

In addition to an ever-growing network, Kinard has also used it as a platform to excel. On April 10, Col. William Edmunds, 607th Air Operations Center vice commander, presented her with the Girl Scouts’ top achievement, the Gold Award.

Only six percent of Girl Scouts ever earn the award and it generally takes one to two years to complete - it entails creating a project that is lasting in the community.

“Kate’s mom, Sam, and I are so proud of Kate’s accomplishment,” said her dad. “She did not let any of the hurdles the project faced slow her down, and instead stared down the issues and persevered.  She truly displayed the perseverance required to complete the Gold Award project and make Osan a better place during a very difficult time.”

For Kinard, it was extra challenging due to a number of factors, to include COVID and the community’s high turnover rate.  Nevertheless, she came up with an idea and saw it through.

“It came to me while I was running to prepare for my fourth triathlon,” she said. “That was in January of 2021.”

Kinard had been to several training camps to prepare for her first couple races, but had never seen one designed for kids.

“The camps did so much for me and I wanted to do that same thing for mothers and daughters,” she said.

Kinard created and executed a six-week camp whereby participants, from Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys,  learned about stretching, nutrition, running, swimming, biking, transitions and even took part in a mini triathlon, leading up to full triathlon at the end of July.

“The moms loved having time each week with their daughters to try something new,” she said. “These girls were so excited to tri and I was happy to see a new generation that believed in themselves. I also learned that this generation of girls doesn’t understand the division between males and females - they had no fear about competing in a male-dominated sport.” 

When the camp and race concluded, Kinard was still awaiting Girl Scout council approval. She had completed the entire project not knowing if it was going to earn her the Gold Award.

“If they hadn’t approved it - It wouldn’t have been a loss,” she said. “I still would have done it and enjoyed it and it would have been great. I helped the community that I have been a part of for a long time and I would do it again.”

The Kinard family is moving again in June and the Girl Scout community awaits her in Alabama. This will be her last move before college where she hopes to complete Air Force ROTC and fulfill the dream she has had since she was ten, to become a pilot.