PEPPERELL -- As summer begins to fade, Girl Scout Jessica Thomson is looking to the fall and how she can help those in need once cold weather sets in.
Thomson, a senior at North Middlesex Regional High School, is working on a project called Knit for the Gold -- a knitting club she started to knit hats and scarves for the homeless this winter.
Thomson holds meetings twice a month inviting the public to help her with her knitting project. People can either start their own projects or work on an existing one.
Beginners are welcome, and Thomson said she has already taught a few people the basics of knitting.
"It's not just about knitting hats and scarves for the homeless, but about teaching people this skill that they can take with them for the rest of their lives," Thomson said.
Her goal is to get 100 hats and scarves to donate to the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter by mid-November, when she plans on handing them out in person.
Thomson said she won't stop knitting until she accomplishes that objective.
"Whenever I set a goal, I have to reach it," she said.
She said so far, members of the club have knitted about 30 items. Attendance varies at meetings, but Thomson said four to seven people usually attend.
Members of her grandmother's knitting club in New York have also volunteered to help with the project, and have promised to send donations.
Knit for the Gold is for Thomson's Gold Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.
"It's like an Eagle project for Boy Scouts, except it's more about leadership than service," she said.
She has logged about 45 hours toward the 80-hour minimum required for the award.
Thomson is currently operating as a Juliette, meaning that she is not affiliated with a troop, but is completing Girl Scout projects on her own. She said she has been in Girl Scouts since she was six.
The project came out of a lifelong love of knitting instilled in her by her mother, she explained. She started to knit as a child, after her mother, who also once ran a knitting club in Pepperell, enrolled her in an after-school class.
While she acknowledged that completing the Gold Award would look good on a resume, she said that finding a meaningful use for her work is a big part of the project's appeal.
"I think just helping people in general is important to me. I like to see people smile, and I thought something that's meaningful and helpful would be appreciated," Thomson said.
Knit for the Gold holds meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Library History Room. All are welcome.
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