This spring 40 Colorado Girl Scouts will receive the Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. These young women are challenged to change the world – or at least their corner of it. Gold Award Girl Scouts are making the world a better place. They’ve completed a large-scale project that solves a community problem not only in the short-term but for years into the future. By doing so, they’ve gained extraordinary leadership and citizenship skills that mark them as valuable contributors to their communities and world.
This year’s Colorado Gold Award projects benefited communities around the world. Topics varied from creating a cookbook and raising awareness for community cafés nationwide to educating elementary school students about the declining bee population to helping Haitian children learn valuable business skills. Lillian Tobias from Breckenridge traveled to Haiti to set up an entrepreneurship program at St. Paul’s school in the rural coastal town of Petit Trou de Nippes. Emelie Knitz from Colorado Springs created a cookbook for FoCo Café in Fort Collins to educate people about what community cafés are and how they help the public. Rose Goodman from Boulder created a lesson plan, which meets common-core standards, to educate second grade students about the declining bee population and how they can help bees. Marieke van Erven from Brighton partnered with the Adams County Elections Department to create VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education), which takes education about the local elections department into high school government classes.
The following Colorado Girl Scouts are among the 40 statewide who will receive the prestigious Gold Award for the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards year:
- Losing a close family friend to testicular cancer inspired Geneva Ascher from Breckenridge, Summit High School, to teach young people how to properly perform self breast and testicular exams. The lesson plans she created and delivered to her classmates will continue to be used by her school.
- Meg Bleylefrom Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch High School, worked to increase the bee population by teaching children about how people need and depend on bees.
- Beth Bolonfrom Longmont hosted a workshop for sixth through ninth grade girls to help them improve their communication skills and bolster their confidence when interacting with others.
- Cheyanne Bridgesfrom Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, partnered with the Pikes Peak Humane Society to support their animal medical fund by providing a sustainable source of donations from her school.
- Tara Butlerfrom Denver, Overland High School, created a course and curriculum specifically for senior citizens to educate them on how to use their smartphone and better understand the technology.
- Nicole Choma from Breckenridge, Summit High School, developed a partnership between her own rugby team and a local after school program designed to promote physical activity and healthy eating behaviors in children. Older students taught a rugby lesson at elementary schools around Summit County.
- Kayleigh Cornellfrom Aurora, Grandview High School, started the Colorado Book Bank and collected more than 1,300 new and gently used books for students in a summer lunch program.
- Aubree Crockett from Colorado Springs, Vanguard High School, wanted to create understanding and acceptance between people around the world while inspiring people to create positive change on their own. She did this through distributing electronic kits, which included a digital camera and instructions for how people could share their daily life, to people all over the world. Fifty-two participants and 25+ partner organizations have all received a copy of the book and more stories are being collected and added to the project.
- Peyton Dailey from Centennial, Grandview High School, created a coalition between Spanish Honor Society students at her school and the Independent Learning Communities program, to provide ILC students the opportunity to learn and practice Spanish in a one-on-one setting.
- Victoria Delatefrom Centennial, Cherry Creek High School, created a four-week self-defense course to give her fellow students the knowledge and skills to protect themselves from sexual assault.
- Emma Deutschfrom Denver, Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, improved the cat rooms at the Denver Animal Shelter. By creating a more welcoming and colorful space, she encouraged more people to adopt cats.
- Kamaryn Evansfrom Castle Rock, Douglas County High School, worked to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence and for the Crisis Center, which works to end domestic violence through advocacy, education, and prevention.
- Inspired by her own love of music and struggles with mental health, Madeline Farr from Centennial, Arapahoe High School, worked to install a piece of outdoor musical equipment called a “metallophone” on the playground of a low-resource elementary school. She also provided the school with lesson plans for how to use the instrument and educated her community about the importance of alternate recess activities for anxious young people.
- Brenna Giblin of Westminster, Jefferson County Open School, worked to increase awareness for Turner Syndrome and help girls who are diagnosed with it. TS is a chromosomal disorder that affects 25-50 out of every 100,000 live baby girl births. Brenna created a video of girls with TS sharing their stories, experiences, and advice for others.
- Rose Goodmanfrom Boulder, Boulder High School, created a lesson plan, which meets common-core standards, to educate second grade students about the declining bee population and how they can help bees.
- Elizabeth Hoelscherfrom Aurora, Grandview High School, partnered with Avanti House, which houses teenage survivors of sex trafficking, to build a new library for the home and create welcome baskets for the girls.
- Ashlin Hultfrom Niwot, Niwot High School, created a series of materials for middle-school girls to encourage healthy body image and increase self-esteem.
- Zoi Johnsfrom Golden, Lakewood High School, coordinated the installation of three 10,000-liter water filtration tanks in a school in rural Uganda and educated students in Uganda and in Colorado about the importance of clean water.
- Emma Kerr from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, built a bookshelf and reading center at a local elementary school. With the help of administrators and teachers, she also started a fun and competitive read-a-thon program in which more than 300 students participated.
- Emelie Knitz from Colorado Springs, Discovery Canyon Campus High School, created a cookbook for FoCo Café in Fort Collins to educate people about what community cafés are, how they help the public, and where people can find other community cafés.
- Makayla Kocherfrom Monument, Colorado Springs Christian School, created an art program for nursing home residents.
- Kayleigh Limbachfrom Niwot, Niwot High School, wrote a guidebook for incoming International Baccalaureate students to help them weigh their options for their academic future.
- Ty’esha Lockyer from Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Christian School, worked to encourage more people to volunteer for Special Olympics. She created a brochure and posters that went to more than 100 volunteer and civic organizations across the county.
- Justine Monsell from Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista High School, partnered with American Legion Post 82 and the Elizabeth Cemetery to provide emblem markers and flags for the more than 150 veterans who are laid to rest in the cemetery.
- Alexis Montaguefrom Castle Rock, Castle View High School, hosted a panel discussion so girls could learn more about career opportunities in STEM.
- Riley Morgenthaler from Morrison, Conifer High School, created Creativity Tool Tubs to help close the gap that students living in low-resource areas face when participating in the STEM-based activity, Destination Imagination.
- Sarah Nessfrom Centennial, Eaglecrest High School, hosted nearly two dozen after-school art therapy sessions to help kids at her school relieve and manage stress.
- Gwyneth Ormesfrom Centennial, Cherry Creek High School, organized a series of after-school workshops to teach elementary school girls Processing (a basic programming language), along with the foundational concepts of computer science.
- Emma Parkhurstfrom Centennial, Littleton High School, revitalized The Lions Cupboard, a local clothing closet, to make the space more accessible for families in need.
- Jaden Scott from Fort Collins, Fort Collins High School, partnered with BASE Camp, an after school enrichment program, to offer dance classes as an extracurricular activity. Throughout her project, she taught more than 230 children dance at elementary schools throughout the Fort Collins area.
- Abagail Sickingerfrom Castle Rock, Douglas County High School, developed a curriculum to help high school students get a job. Topics included: resume writing, what to wear, conducting yourself during an interview, and how to answer interview questions.
- Katrina Stroudfrom Boulder, Niwot High School, created an activity booklet for The Butterfly Pavilion to teach children about Monarch butterflies and bumble bees.
- Grayson Thomasfrom Lyons, Lyons High School, designed a mural of diverse and significant members of the STEM community for Lyons Middle/Senior High School.
- Lillian Tobias from Breckenridge, Summit High School, partnered with the Colorado Haiti Project and traveled to Haiti to set up an entrepreneurship program at St. Paul’s school in the rural coastal town of Petit Trou de Nippes.
- Marieke van Ervenfrom Brighton partnered with the Adams County Elections Department to create VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education), which takes education about the elections department into high school government classes.
- Melissa Wilsonfrom Castle Rock, Castle View High School, developed several materials to educate people who can hear about how to interact with those who are deaf.
- Inspired by her mother’s battle with cancer, Susan Wilsonfrom Aurora, Grandview High School, created a media center for cancer patients undergoing treatment at Parker Adventist Hospital.
- Mihaela Zaharescu from Broomfield, Prospect Ridge Academy, worked with her school’s National Honor Society chapter to create dental care packets for children in need. She also organized a drive to collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash to go into the packets.
Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award project involves seven steps: 1. Identify an issue, 2. Investigate it thoroughly, 3. Get help and build a team, 4. Create a plan, 5. Present the plan and gather feedback, 6. Take action, 7. Educate and inspire. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.
“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Stephanie Foote, president and chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “They saw a need and took ownership of helping to develop a solution and took action to make it happen. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance and leadership are making the world a better place.”
Girl Scouts of Colorado will honor these Gold Award Girl Scouts as well as recipients of Girl Scouts’ other two Highest Awards, the Silver (the Highest Award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn) and Bronze (the Highest Award a Girl Scout Junior can earn), at upcoming ceremonies around the state. These events include:
- April 20 at 6 p.m. at Center for American Values, 101 S. Main St. #100, Pueblo
- April 22 at 2 p.m. Embassy Suites by Hilton, 4705 Clydesdale Pkwy, Loveland
- April 29 at 2 p.m. at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse St., Denver
- May 4 at 6 p.m. at the Penrose House Garden Pavilion 1661 Mesa Ave., Colorado Springs
- May 6 at 2 p.m. Colorado Mesa University, 1100 North Ave., Grand Junction
- May 11 at 6 p.m. at Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne
You can learn more about these extraordinary young women and their projects on the Girl Scouts of Colorado blog. You have permission to use the photos and biographies of any of the girls listed above in print or online publications. If you would like to interview any of these Girl Scouts about their project and the impact it had, please contact AnneMarie Harper, Girl Scouts of Colorado public relations director.