Amaya Versluis from Orion has achieved the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, for raising funds to build a new workout room and training area to help local firefighters stay in shape and have a place to practice simulated scenarios, according to a news release.

Amaya Versluis at work on the workout room. (contributed photo)

Versluis discovered that her local firehouse did not have adequate training or workout areas through her experience as a firefighter and talking with the fire chief and training officer, a news release says. She knew that creating these facilities would prepare the firefighters for future calls and would also help prepare them for their upcoming Candidate Physical Ability Test, which is an assessment to determine an individual’s ability to handle the physical demands of being a firefighter.

“By having an area to work real-world fire simulations and regularly utilizing the workout area to build our strength and mental toughness, we will be better equipped to search fires faster and quicker,” she said.

She set out to raise the money necessary to construct the training and workout rooms. She raised money via a Facebook fundraiser, hosted a garage sale, accepted in-kind donations, and applied for grants to secure the materials needed for the project. In the end, she raised over $5,300 and spent more than 90 hours fundraising, organizing, and constructing.

Amaya Versluis with foam for the workout room. (contributed photo)

Amaya then got to work building the workout and simulation rooms. With the help of volunteers from her family and the fire department, she began shopping for flooring, workout equipment, and other items needed for construction. Then, she began clearing out the area in the basement of the fire department where the workout and training rooms would go. Finally, she installed walling and flooring and soon began moving in the workout equipment.

“The most successful part of my project was seeing the happiness and gratitude I got from the firefighters,” she said. “They thanked me for giving them a great workout area so they could prepare for their upcoming CPAT testing and so much more.”

Finished workout room (contributed photo)

Amaya’s project supports a cause and an organization she believes in and helped her learn new things and grow her leadership skills, the release says.

Amaya graduated from high school in the spring of 2022 and attends Kirkwood Community College.

Amaya Versluis at the Orion Fire Station (contributed photo)

Gold Award

The Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, available to girls in high school who create sustainable change on a community or world issue. Gold Award Girl Scouts address the root cause of a problem, plan and implement innovative solutions to drive change, and lead a team of people to success. As they take action to transform their world, Gold Award Girl Scouts gain tangible skills and prove they are the leaders our community and the world need.

For more information about Girl Scouts, visit here.