Hollis’ Amanda Kabel achieves Girl Scout Gold

HOLLIS – A Hollis teen reached impressive heights in her yearlong quest for her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts earned by high school girls.

Amanda Kabel, a 2015 graduate of Hollis Brookline High School and a Girl Scout since kindergarten, said her multifaceted project, "A Bird’s Eye View," was aimed at encouraging people to spend more time outdoors.

Kabel, now a freshman at the University of New Hampshire majoring in medical microbiology, built an educational outdoor display at the peak of Big Bear Mountain in Brookline, as well as a geocaching course nearby. Both are on the campus of the Andres Institute of Art, a place where Kabel has spent many hours. A haven for artists and sculptors from all over the world, the Andres Institute encompasses 140 acres and more than 75 original sculptures, among other things.

The completed display, located near the popular Phoenix sculpture, educates passers-by on the site’s rich history, as well as elevation details and proximity to other Granite State mountaintops. The more recent addition of Kabel’s geocaching course has inspired even more hikers and hobbyists to look toward the summit.

"I’ve pretty much been hiking my entire life," she said. "And I grew up going geocaching with my father," Al Kabel.

The geocache, listed on www.geocaching.com, has proved popular with local enthusiasts.

"I put together a cache, with a log and some prizes," Kabel said. "It’s a pretty unique hobby, as a cache can pretty much stay in place forever."

During a geocache, individuals or groups use GPS devices to locate hidden "caches," or containers filled with various trinkets. Kabel noted that one of the most exciting aspects of her project has been receiving emails and letters from those who’ve attempted and conquered her course, allowing them to "trade" from the token prizes contained in the cache.

Kabel’s love of exploration has been encouraged during her years with the Girl Scouts, where the young woman participated in various travel activities. Some of her more memorable excursions include trips to Canada and to Savannah, Ga., the birthplace of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low.

Girl Scouting has been a family affair for Kabel, whose mother, Ruth, used to lead her troop and continues to volunteer locally. Both of Kabel’s older sisters earned the Girl Scout Gold Award: Becky Kabel in 2010 and Nicole Kabel in 2012.