A Cedar Crest High School senior who has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten is celebrating earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in the program.

Maddie Lowe will be presented the award at the Gold Award Ceremony this spring.

Along with prestige, the Girl Scout Gold Award gives its recipients the opportunity to boost their professional skills and their network, earn scholarships, enlist in the military at a higher pay grade, and other perks.

But she is not resting on her laurels. The high school senior who competes in cross country, track and field, and swimming for the school is already helping to plan the second annual Falcon Triathlon and Youth Triathlon.

Her mother, Lynne Lowe, joined her for a LebTown-exclusive interview where they discussed what inspired the triathlete to pour at least 80 hours into planning the first annual Falcon Youth Triathlon that ultimately earned her the award, and why she’s doing it a second year.

“I just wanted to encourage kids that are younger than me to get into the sport because I only started it two years ago, and I wish I would have started when I was younger,” Maddie Lowe said.

Lynne Lowe said her daughter’s choice to plan the youth triathlon met two needs simultaneously: “A lot of triathlons around here don’t have youth triathlons. Or it’s hard to find. She did a few when she was younger, but she wanted to do [the youth triathlon].”

Around the same time, the school’s cross-country and track and field teams were searching for fundraising opportunities. “So, we just ended up putting the two together,” she said.

Maddie Lowe estimated that 50 children between the ages of 5 and 12 competed in the first annual Falcon Youth Triathlon, which proved their pre-event fears of a bad turnout wrong.

“It was a little nerve-wracking last year because you’re doing all this work planning it and getting it to go. And then you’re like, ‘but there’s only 20 people signed up,’ and so you think, ‘we’re going to lose money,’ because some of the costs are fixed no matter how many people do it,” Lynne Lowe said.

“But it turned out fine. We did good. The Falcon Triathlon did raise money.”

Maddie Lowe echoed her mother’s sentiment, saying they saw a common trend with triathlons: people wait to register until shortly before the event. “Once we hit a month out, we definitely saw more people signing up. So, it’s definitely good for that,” she said.

From what they have heard from students and friends, Maddie and Lynne Lowe expect the turnout to be higher this year.

“There [are] more people registered at this time this year than there were at this time last year,” Lynne Lowe said. “So, that’s encouraging.”

The first triathlon required more planning since Maddie was working from the ground up. This year, she can help others build on what she learned from planning and implementing last year’s event.

“Last year, it was probably like a year of planning, organizing, getting everything set up,” Maddie said. The planning process included mapping good roads for running and biking, setting up the online registration page, ordering t-shirts and food, acquiring sponsors, and more.

“Our target this year is to start a lot of the fundraising and contacting the South Lebanon [Township] Police Department and the fire and rescue. They helped us man a couple of the intersections where we cross busy roads. So, we’re going to kick that off the first part of February. And we told them last year we wanted to do it again,” Lynne Lowe added.

“So, I think it’ll be a busy five months now instead of a busy year.”

When asked if there were any Girl Scout-specific logistics to consider in planning her first triathlon, Maddie said, “I wasn’t allowed to raise any money. So, I just had to make sure that all of the money that I was bringing in went back to the expenses for the food and renting out the pool and paying lifeguards and everything like that.”

“They don’t want the Gold Awards for these girls to end up being learning how to fundraise or making a bunch of money for some other organization. That’s not the goal of your Gold Award,” Lynne Lowe added.

This year, the triathlon is not part of a Girl Scout Gold Award project and, therefore, is not required to be budget-neutral.

Maddie and Lynne said that, while planning their first triathlon, they received support from the Cedar Crest High School administration, cross country and track and field coaches, and the Lebanon community at large.

“[We] couldn’t have done it without them and some other volunteers that came and helped us set up the night before and tear everything down. It takes a lot of volunteers,” Lynne said.

“I would also just thank the sponsors,” she added. “We’ll be going out trying to recruit more sponsors again this year. Thank the ones that helped us … to keep it cost-effective.”

She said that triathlons are often “well over $100 to register” and that lowering the registration costs “so that more people could participate and that that wasn’t a barrier” was their priority.

Gold sponsors for the first Falcon Triathlon and Youth Triathlon were Bouquet Mulligan DeMaio Eye Professionals, Heisey’s Diner, and Matthew & Hockley Associates; silver sponsors were Oasis Showrooms by APR Supply, Sheetz, and Miles T. Weaber & Son; and bronze sponsors were Angelo’s, Lebanon Federal Credit Union, Giant, Weis Markets, and Deluxx Bikes.

Maddie and Lynne Lowe hope that some of last year’s sponsors will be willing to sponsor the athletic event again this year.

The second annual USA Triathlon-sanctioned Falcon Triathlon and Youth Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, at Cedar Crest High School. Registration for all age groups is now open.

New this year is a USAT-mandated cost break for those under the age of 19, as the age category shifted to encompass those aged 18 in the teenage category (ages 13 to 18).

Looking towards the future, the Lebanon County mother and daughter share a dream of the athletic event continuing after they leave the organizations, and said they could still help out.

“I’m hoping that it continues after I go to college and everything,” Maddie Lowe said. “And I hope that the cross-country team will keep it going since it was something that we kind of did for them. So, I hope they keep that going for us.”

After earning her high school diploma, the member of the 2024 Girl Scout Gold Award class plans to study medicine at the University of Arizona. Her mother currently works in the field as a physical therapist.

Maddie Lowe reacted to earning the Girl Scout Gold Award: “It was definitely rewarding just knowing that I could pull something off like that and having a good support system, helping me and surrounding me and pushing me to achieve that award.”

“I’m just really proud of Maddie,” her mother and Girl Scout leader of about 10 years said. “So, I want to give her some recognition for the hard work she did.”

When asked what her favorite event in a triathlon is or if it is the combination of all three, Maddie said, “I definitely like all three of them. Sometimes, the bike isn’t fun, or the swim’s not fun. But overall, I think doing all the training for all three of them and competing is definitely fun.”

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Lexi Gonzalez has worked as a reporter with LebTown since 2020. She is a Lancaster native and became acquainted with Lebanon while she earned her bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College.


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