DECATUR — Community members don’t often get the chance to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of a former Girl Scout, in addition to the organization itself.

However, on Saturday night, the Decatur community did just that as they gathered at the Country Club of Decatur to honor the accomplishments of Julie Curry, the 2013 Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Diamonds Award honoree.

“To be honored by the Girl Scouts and my community is so humbling,” Curry said. “This honor is something I’ll cherish forever. For them to feel like I’m a role model and someone to be looked up to makes me feel really proud.”

From serving as a member of the Illinois General Assembly, representing the 101st Legislative District from 1994 to 2003 and as the deputy chief of staff for economy and labor for the governor to providing government consulting services to businesses, local communities and organizations, Curry, 51, commended Girl Scouts for helping her become the person she is today.

“I can remember being shy when I was younger, but Girl Scouts really gave me confidence and encouragement,” she said. “I owe a lot to the Girl Scouts.”

Shirley Stanley, last year’s Diamonds Award recipient, said she was excited to see Curry honored. “Julie is so deserving of this award. She truly is someone who’s found her girl power.”

Pam Kovacevich, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois CEO, said it was satisfying to recognize Curry for exemplifying the characteristics Girl Scouts works to instill in young women.

“We have such a diverse group of fabulous women (in the Decatur community),” she said. “There really is someone for any of our girls to model themselves after.”

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois also introduced a new component to the annual Diamonds event: the Desserts First competition.

Throughout the evening, attendees were able to sample and vote on desserts created by local chefs and inspired by Girl Scout cookies.

With seven treats from which to choose, eating dessert first was not a difficult decision. For example, diners could choose a caramel napoleon delight, a three-layered French dessert consisting of a vanilla pastry cream layer, a puff pastry layer made up of a Caramel DeLite cookie and a chocolate mocha layer, made by Kevin Houy, director of food and nutrition services, and his staff at St. Mary’s Hospital. Then, there was the bite-size white chocolate mint cheesecake inspired by the Thin Mint cookie and created by Brian Tucker, chef and director of the Richland Community College’s Culinary Arts Institute and his students.

“I’m excited for this new format,” said Stanley as she prepared to help judge the desserts. “Not only can you eat dessert first, but you’re encouraged to. It’s wonderful.”

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