Wednesday, March 6, 2013

LEADING THE WAY with the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida


I have a confession:  I was not a Girl Scout.  

Growing up in California, I was a Camp Fire Girl (the West Coast equivalent of Girl Scouts).  As a Camp Fire Girl, I learned how to collaborate, how to lead, and how to follow instructions.  I will always remember the camping trips into the Sierra Nevada and summer camps filled with memories made while swimming in high elevation lakes and hiking through the mountains on old logging trails.

Last year, it was a huge surprise to learn that I had been nominated for an award by the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida as their 2012 Woman of Distinction in the Healthy Living category.  I was honored last April, along with four other incredible women, for my work to raise awareness about the childhood obesity epidemic and why we cannot fail. The award has meant a lot to me because of the recognition for the leadership I provide in a health issue that threatens today’s children to lifespans shorter than ours, unless we take action to reverse, halt, and prevent obesity.

Alma Lee Loy (R), the first lady of Vero Beach, graced last year's event with her presence as she greeted
Tammy Vock (L), City Clerk. 

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, and me at last year's Women of Distinction event.

What would a Girl Scouts event be without the COOKIES!  (Pass the Samoas, please.)

Juliette Gordon Low and one of the local Girl Scouts at last year's event.  

Tomorrow the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida honors Indian River County’s 2013 Women of Distinction.  They are:

  • Amy Borello, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Florida (STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
  • Catherine Lambert (Financial Literacy)
  • Linda Hart (Healthy Living)
  • Kerryanne T. Monahan (Environmental Leadership)
  • Bunny Frey (El Hogar Ministries, Inc.) 

I am absolutely delighted to have nominated Linda Hart for this recognition and to be invited to introduce her at tomorrow’s event.   Linda’s work to create healthy food choices for local residents and guests is an example of the leadership by women for women and girls to act boldly based on your beliefs.  When Linda moved to Florida from Texas, where she had been raised on her family’s farm, she was recruited for a job in nursing.  She bought a five acre homestead in Florida and saw the trends toward locally produced foods.  She started raising chickens and turkeys.  

When she received an inquiry from a private country club, she knew what direction to take.  She worked for months to gain certifications from the USDA and the Florida Department of Agriculture.  I first met Linda at the local green market in Fort Pierce and started buying the eggs she sold on Saturday mornings.  I discovered that they tasted so much better than any eggs I had ever had.  Linda also taught me that they are nutritionally better than any commercial eggs because she provides the chicken with good food and they get to run free at Crazy Hart Ranch.  I enjoy making spinach and sun-dried tomato fritatas with eggs from Crazy Hart Ranch because I love great tasting foods that are also good for me.  

If you live in or around Indian River County and would like to join me at Quail Valley River Club in honoring Linda and the four other 2013 Women of Distinction who are leading the way, go to or call 561 427-0192.  

Leadership is in the actions we take.  Kids are watching us every day.  As a parent, you are providing leadership every day to your family.  Make healthy choices for healthy living, for your children's health - and lives - may depend on it.

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.