Provided by Josh Heath
Sandy Helling has worked part-time for the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia for almost two years, but her involvement with the nonprofit organization goes back much farther than that. In fact, Helling, Fund Development Specialist for the Augusta area, served in various capacities, including volunteer and troop leader for 15 years before accepting her current job. Her husband’s Army career moved the family around a few times, with stops in Texas and Hawaii. For Helling, Girl Scouts is a family tradition. “Wherever the military sent us, we could find Girl Scouts,” Helling said.
Her two daughters grew up participating in Girl Scouts and both earned the Gold Award, the highest achievement in the organization. To earn this award, girls are required to complete a community service project. Helling’s younger daughter, Rebecca, earned the award by planning a prom for special needs students in Columbia County, which the staff at Grovetown High School has continued. Rebecca is now a junior at Cornell University. Helling’s older daughter, Rachel, earned her Gold Award by “creating a love of literacy program at Jenkins-White Elementary School in Richmond County.” To get students excited about reading, Rachel invited soldiers from Fort Gordon to read to students. Rachel is currently a teacher and troop leader in Tennessee.
As Fund Development Specialist, Helling is primarily responsible for media relations, public relations and alumni relations. She strives to promote the organization’s mission, which is, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Helling helps to advance this mission by planning events that showcase what Girl Scouts can do, such as the S’morevivor 5K Trail Run and Team Challenge. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, August 22, at Camp Tanglewood off Columbia Road in Martinez. The event is open to the public and will feature a 3.1-mile run and a four-person team challenge in a series of activities, including canoeing, archery and an obstacle course. There will also be food trucks and a silent auction. The 5K will begin at 7:30am. Helling is proud to be part of a group that exists just for girls and promotes leadership, responsibility and exercise.
Hellings earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree from American University, both in Communications. What she enjoys most about living in Augusta is “the weather and the wide variety of things to do.” She actively participates in community organizations, including being part of the Leadership Augusta Class of 2020 and serving on the Events Advisory Board for the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. When she is not working or volunteering, Helling enjoys traveling with her husband, Dr. Eric Helling, a plastic surgeon at the VA. They have traveled to many foreign countries, including Germany, England, Wales, and Japan, on space-available military flights. Her husband worked at Eisenhower Army Medical Center and retired from the military with the rank of Colonel in 2017. When he retires from the VA, Helling says “we will be able to travel for weeks at a time.”
The first Girl Scouts troop was formed in Savannah in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low. For more information about the S’morevivor event or to register, visit smorevivor.itsyourrace.com.
This article appears in the May/June 2020 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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