Sixteen-year-old Maddie Schmuch is putting her love of martial arts to good use as she hosts self-defense workshops for teens to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve and equivalent to the Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. The workshops, entitled “Defend Yourself,” will be held at the Rowley Public Library on Thursday, July 11, and Thursday, Aug. 8, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The free, hour-and-a-half classes are open to all teens, girls or boys, and will cover a few basic techniques that just may save a life. The techniques focus on preventing an incident from escalating.
In deciding on her Gold Award project, which had to demonstrate leadership and commitment to a cause, Schmuch watched the news to see what was happening in the world because, she said, she wanted to do a project that was needed.
“I kept seeing terrible events [in the news] where people couldn’t defend themselves to save their life or the lives of people around them,” said Schmuch, who has been practicing martial arts for eight years and is a second degree black belt. “That’s when I decided that I would teach self-defense to a variety of people.”
And she has — having already held two successful classes — one for senior citizens and one for teens.
Schmuch is well on her way to working 80 hours on her project, having taught multiple classes and building her team to help direct the classes. In addition, she is preparing a book and video on self-defense and teaching others how to be instructors. For more information about the classes, contact the library at 978-948-2850.
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