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Girl Scouts create ornaments for national Christmas tree
First lady, local sculptor team up to create unique decorations
Local Girl Scouts from Troop 1212 helped decorate ornaments that appear on the national Christmas tree display in President's Park in Washington.

Although crafts are a regular part of the Girl Scouts of the USA experience, members of the local branch of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia have a reason to be especially proud of their latest art project.

Gainesville-area scouts recently decorated ornaments that were used to decorate Georgia's tree for the 2011 National Christmas Tree display in President's Park in Washington, D.C. The display includes a tree for each of the U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia.

The ornaments are meant to represent the unique character of each state and territory. Because the scouts were founded in Georgia, the project was a perfect marriage of ideas.

"We are so proud to have been a part of this," said Cheryl Legette, community relations officer for the Historic council. "This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities."

One of the scouts' ornaments is also displayed on the White House Visitor Center's Christmas tree.

The girls became involved in the project thanks to local sculptor Jane Hemmer, who was contacted by Georgia first lady Sandra Deal.

"She (Deal) contacted me and asked me if I would lead the design project for Georgia's tree," Hemmer said. "It is an honor to be selected."

Instead of taking all of the glory for herself, Hemmer reached out to the community. She contacted John Amoss, a professor of art at Gainesville State College, to help design an ornament to be placed inside the clear plastic globe provided by the National Park Service and Foundation, which oversees the decoration of the trees.

Hemmer then contacted local girl scouts for assistance with decorating the template created by Amoss.

"Since (Deal) is the honorary troop leader for Troop 1912, this was a perfect fit," Legette said.

Troop 1912 is an honorary troop made up of all the female elected officials and legislators in Georgia. The troop's number is significant because it represents the year that Juliette Gordon Lowe founded the Girl Scouts, Legette says.

Next year is also the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the girl scouts, so the local troop included a special anniversary patch among the ornaments.