Girl Scouts qualify for part in Rose Parade

Two Girl Scouts will have the best seats in the house when this year’s Tournament of Roses parade heads down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.

Anna Stapelseldt, 17, of La Crescenta, and Kaitlyn Ross, 17, of Burbank, will be carrying the banners for the trophy-winning floats.

“This is really exciting to represent my community,” said Anna, who is a senior at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena.

Kaitlyn had always watched the parade on TV, but she’ll get an even closer look, she said.

“I’ll be able to see how the parade works and see the directions and how much goes into it,” she said.

They are both Gold Award recipients in the Girl Scout program, which qualified them to apply and interview for the banner-carrier honor.

The Gold Award is achieved after a Girl Scout completes a community service project, similar to the Boy Scout Eagle Project.

Anna, a member of Troop 17, received her Gold Award in June for a chemistry research project she did on the Dunsmore Canyon Stream Basin.

The waterway starts near Dunsmore Street in La Crescenta and joins the Arroyo River and eventually the Los Angeles River, she said.

“I was testing for different pollutants,” she said. “I did water testing and presented the results to the Friends of the Los Angeles River.”

The project called for several rounds of testing and took her two years, she said. Completing that project gave her the confidence to go to Cal Tech and ask for an internship, she said, and helped her decide on a career path.

“I want to be a researcher and study the origins of life,” she said.

Kaitlyn’s Gold Award project was to paint a United States map on the playground at Horace Mann Elementary School in Glendale. She is a member of Troop 714-1 and attends Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.

A fellow Girl Scout had performed a shoe donation project at the school and Kaitlyn asked the principal if the school needed anything else, Kaitlyn said.

“They had an outline of the states but didn’t have the money to complete it, and she wondered if I could do it for her,” she said.

Kaitlyn painted the states in red, blue, green or yellow but didn’t name each state, she said.

“It’s sort of a game they play guessing the states,” she said.

With help from family and some girls in the troop, the map took 35 hours and three coats of paint, Kaitlyn said.

“The project was to address the need for fun learning outside the classroom,” she said. “It’s given the children something to do during recess.”

Kaitlyn also volunteered Monday to decorate a float. She was assigned to the New Mexico float, which has a Looney Tunes theme, she said. She applied black onion seed to a skunk.

“I never decorated a float before,” she said. “I didn’t know how much work went into it. We were there nine hours, and we didn’t get much done.”

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