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Local Girl Scout works for gold; Student achieves highest honor

By Staff | Sep 8, 2008

Ariel Chomey was busy Saturday morning, greeting people, checking on vendors and handing out raffle prizes.

She was hosting the Dog and Cat Days of Summer Animal Awareness Day at the Special Populations Center on Santa Barbara Boulevard. The event was a large-scale service project that included live demonstrations, rescue and adoption agencies, and pet friendly service groups.

The project was part of Chomey’s requirements to complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor for girl scouts age 14 to 18. The Gold Award, and specifically the Gold Award project, emphasizes organizational and leadership skills, and a sense of commitment to the community.

At only 18, Chomey is a junior at FGCU, where she is majoring in environmental studies. She completed her AA degree last year.

Coming from being home schooled, Chomey had a bit of a learning curve, so to speak, when she finally stepped into a classroom three years ago.

“I almost passed out my first time in a classroom,” Chomey said. “People couldn’t believe I was only 15.”

The Dog and Cat Days project took the award-winning scout roughly a year to conceive, plan and execute. She said it was only a reality in her head leading up to the big event, but everything went off without a hitch.

Chomey added that if was not an animal-themed event, then music, her other passion, would have taken center stage.

“Music is my other passion but I’m a big animal lover,” Chomey said. “I decided that with all the foreclosures in the area, animals was the more important and bigger problem.”

Chomey started her scouts career as a Daisy when she was age 5. Now that her career as a scout is nearly complete, she said one her favorite moments was when she attended circus camp in Bradenton.

“I think it makes you very well rounded,” she said of the scouts. “It makes you comfortable with being outside, teaches you how to organize and adapt to different environments.”

One of the rescue and adoptions services that heeded Chomey’s call was Joey’s Greyhound Friends, a Cape Coral based greyhound rescue group.

Joey’s rescues dogs from the greyhound track in Naples and finds permanent homes for the hounds after their racing days are over.

“Its a great cause,” said Theresa Cauthen, Joey’s vice president. “And we really wanted to help Ariel and help her reach her goal.”