Young Girl Scouts earn Gold and Silver awards [West Friendship]

Howard County Times

"Be Prepared" is the Girl Scout motto. In the case of two local Scouts, that is just what they have done.

Through their dedication to the Scouts and to their community. Anna Ottman, a rising ninth grade student at Marriotts Ridge High School earned her Silver Award recently. Anna has been a scout in Troop 4085, starting as a Daisy Scout, since she was a grammar school student at West Friendship Elementary. Her troop leader, Annmarie Ottman, who also happens to be her mom, could not be more proud.

For her Silver Award project, Ottman reached out to Bruce Clopein, volunteer resource manager at Sarah’s House, a shelter run by Catholic Charities which provides support to families experiencing homelessness.

Clopein mentioned the need for a coffee table for the shelter. With the assistance and guidance of her father, Geff Ottman, Anna designed and built a coffee table that holds children’s board games. Anna and her dad’s first wood working project was a doll house some years back. Working more than 60 hours to complete the table, the final product was presented in December. Not only is the table a big hit at Sarah’s House, but Anna looks forward to continuing work as a volunteer there.

When Marriotts Ridge High School rising senior, Hanna Al-Kowsi’s late grandmother gave her a copy of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Red Headed League” she was hooked for life. Hanna was a sixth grader when she read that first Sherlock Holmes story, but her enthusiasm grew to a point where she can boast of having read the complete Sherlock Holmes five times over.

Her grandmother, the late Francis Davidson, would be so proud to know that her long ago Christmas gift fostered a love of literature and eventually the Girl Scout Gold Award for Hanna, who will be honored along with fellow Gold Award Girl Scouts on June 14.

Hanna, a Juliette Scout, with project advisor Liz Corson of Watson’s Tin Box, (the local Sherlockian Society), worked for several years on production of a film, "A Study in Sherlock."The film, aimed at seventh-grade English teachers with a goal of fostering education and inspiration for all things Sherlock Holmes, has proven a hit with educators and students.

The film screened at the Miller Branch in May of 2017. Hanna’s mother, Stacey Davidson, recalls that Hanna set up a replica of Sherlock Holmes’ study, including a hand-painted mantel requisite pipes, test tubes, flasks, books and more. The atmosphere was pure Baker Street and the audience of teachers, students and members of the Watson’s Tin Box Sherlock Holmes group were mightily impressed.

Since that time Hanna has received the Beacon Award from the Beacon Society, the education scion of the international Sherlockian Society. She traveled to New York in January of 2018 where she received the award during the Baker Street Irregulars gathering. By now, Hanna’s film has an international audience.

Congratulations Hanna on the Girl Scout Gold Award and for fostering the love of literature. “Elementary.”

It’s not too early to sign up for the Saint James United Methodist Church Vacation Bible School, set this year for July 23-27, from 9 a.m. to noon. Ages 3 years through sixth grade are invited as students and older youth may sign on as helpers. The theme this year is “Raging River Rampage” with plans for music, recreation, crafts, bible story time and snacks. Questions? Call the church office at 410-442-2020. Register online at

Congratulations to author Gary Bargatze on the completion and publication of the eighth novel, in an historical fiction series titled “Your Winding Daybreak Ways.” This eighth novel, “Babylon” links characters and events from the previous books in the series. Bargatze, a natural story teller, is at home weaving history, within the storyline of a family and the balance it seeks.

The locales in this novel include Block Island, Washington, D.C. and Maui, Hawaii. Bargatze, formerly of Glenelg, divides his time between his writing studios in Williamsburg, Virginia and in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Want to learn more about the series or about Gary Bargatze and his writing? Go to his website at

The Maryland Western Horse Association will be at the Howard County fairgrounds in West Friendship on June 17, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Showmanship, halter, trail, western divisions, ranch and English will be part of the lineup.

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