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Belmont’s Kelly Hayes earns Girl Scout Gold Award

Gold Award - Kelly Hayes

South Road Cemetery building is renovated for Girl Scouting’s highest honor

BELMONT, NH | When the South Road Cemetery maintenance building was struck by lightning years ago, it was already in deteriorating condition. Thanks to a Girl Scout, not only has the building been spruced up, but the community is also better informed about how to handle grief.

Kelly Hayes, 17, a Belmont High School senior, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her work replacing the siding on the building, installing flower hangers, and creating a pamphlet on dealing with loss which she distributed to schools and the library. The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting. To earn it, a girl must spend at least 80 hours on a project that will benefit her community, making the world a better place. She has demonstrated that she is a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.

This was not a tiny shed that Hayes put her brain power, sweat, and muscles into. “It is a full-sized garage-type building and took a lot of effort to re-side,” said P. Woodbury Fogg of the American Legion. “This is also a project that has considerable community impact. What Kelly Hayes has done significantly improves the appearance of the cemetery and the efficiency of its maintenance and upkeep. Her work is truly a public service, and much appreciated by those of us who must frequent the South Road Cemetery, as it is by the families and friends of those buried there.”

While she has some basic construction skills, cold weather was one obstacle that Kelly had to overcome, working from last July through December. In her Gold Award report, she said she learned to be more patient, and have even more respect for blue-collar workers than previously. “Construction work is physically and mentally draining, but I gained skill in the field,” she said. “I learned that I have compassion for others and have an eagerness to help. Before this project, I was not aware of such issues as the vandalism and littering present in the cemetery. Afterwards, I was more aware of the issues and interested in fixing them.”

Because the cemetery is privately owned, she did not have to go through the town to gain permission for the work, and the owners provided money for the materials she needed. Ruth Mooney, her project advisor, said the town administrator sent a letter explaining what a benefit it was to the community, since the cemetery is visited daily by town residents. “It is a beautiful spot,” said Mooney, “and Kelly’s work has only added to the beautification of the area. As chairman of the Board of Selectmen for our town, it is so nice to see young people get involved.”

Belmont Town Administrator K. Jeanne Beaudin agreed. “The recent community service project undertaken by Kelly Hayes was a benefit to the community in that additional funds did not have to be raised by taxpayers to offset the additional maintenance of the building. This young lady’s efforts are greatly appreciated by my office, as each year it comes more difficult to justify our Health and Community Service Agencies’ budgets to the voters.”

Kelly had some help from her father, her mother – who is also her troop leader, and sister Girl Scout Kyleigh Peters.

About to graduate from Belmont High School, Kelly plans to study English at Franklin Pierce University with eye on teaching or creative writing.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for girls to engage in a rigorous process that calls for leadership at the highest level, as they tackle issues they feel passionately about. Gold Award Girl Scouts earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, are active in their communities, and access a powerful and support Girl Scout network. The Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls – and the most difficult to earn – and it’s only available at Girl Scouts.

Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. Gold Award Girl Scouts are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts who join the armed forces enter one rank higher than other recruits.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • 16 young women earned their Gold Award in the 2017-18 membership year in New Hampshire and Vermont as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit