Colorado lawmakers honor Gold Award Girl Scouts

On Monday, April 8, Colorado State Senators broke from traditional business to honor 42 Gold Award Girl Scouts from across Colorado. More than half of this year’s honorees were at this recognition, which took place shortly after the session opened at 10 a.m. To earn the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, each of these young women 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.

In addition to honoring these Girl Scouts and their extraordinary Gold Award projects that benefited communities across the world, Girl Scouts of Colorado introduced the winners of the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize and the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award. Emily Kretschmer from Colorado Springs received the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. She partnered with the nonprofit Status: Code 4 to produce a documentary to raise awareness of the hardships families of first responders can face and start meaningful conversations amongst families themselves. The Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize was made possible through a generous gift to the Girl Scouts of Colorado Endowment by Girl Scouts of Colorado President & CEO Stephanie A. Foote. “Emily’s project is an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. I am proud to present this prize to her and recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said.

Emily was honored along with three other Gold Award Girl Scouts, who the selection committee for the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize determined were deserving of Honorable Mention. Madeline Ford from Englewood partnered with the Boys & Girls Club to create a five-session literacy program to promote a positive reading environment and teach children new ways to express themselves through books and poetry. To tackle the stigma for girls in some countries around the menstrual cycle, Maya Hegde from Englewood developed a program to teach girls in underdeveloped countries girls how to make reusable sanitary pads with materials they have and how to sell sanitary pads in their own communities.  Keaton Maring from Arvada built a life jacket loaner station at Standley Lake. Along with the station, she created an educational sign and a sustainable loaning program for the life jackets to provide more people with lifesaving equipment.

Mykaela Ryan from Broomfield was awarded the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award. She drew on her personal experiences with stuttering to create a video and educational presentation to inform high schoolers about how to interact with someone who stutters. Mykaela demonstrated bravery and pride by presenting her project directly to students at her own school, and beyond, to raise awareness and stop bullying. This award is given in memory of Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor Debbie Haskins, who had a passion for working with older Girl Scouts. It recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado who exemplifies the Girl Scout spirit through courage, confidence, and character.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Foote. “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.”

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.

The following Colorado Girl Scouts are among the 42 statewide who will be receiving the prestigious Gold Award for the 2018-19 Girl Scout awards year:

  • Mia Aguon from Parker, Ponderosa High School, was inspired to prevent the use of vaporizers inside of businesses in her community. She created straightforward and informative “No Smoking Including E-Cigarettes” signs to raise awareness for customers and allow business owners to be supported in not allowing indoor vaping.
  • Brittany Argo from Aurora, Cherokee Trail High School, built a prayer garden at St. Michael the Archangel’s and aided in the construction of a prayer garden at a church in the Philippines.
  • Danise Bachman from Northglenn, Colorado Preparatory Academy, discovered through her own experience with grief a lack of resources for children, especially around the holidays. She partnered with Judi’s House to create thoughtful coloring and activity pages for children experiencing grief to reflect on their special person.
  • Evyn Batie from Loveland, Mountain View High School, led a team of students to create the Northern Colorado Student Mental Health Resource Guide, an electronic compilation of some of the best youth mental health resources across the region.
  • Mackenzie Block from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, partnered with Ronald McDonald Charities to create a treasure closet, so children staying at the house in Colorado Springs can play with and check-out new and engaging toys. She also put together a how-to guide, which she shared with other Ronald McDonald Charities across Colorado and the United States.
  • Inspired by her own struggles with mental illness, Trinity Brubaker from Longmont, Lyons Middle/Senior High School, created a Free Little Library focused on mental health resources. She also developed and taught a comprehensive curriculum to local students to raise awareness about mental health issues.
  • After learning that many people don’t know how often they need to replace their smoke detectors and the dangers of having a defective smoke detector, Cassidy Christian from Highlands Ranch took action. She developed a “Smoke Detector 101” resource in Spanish and English. She also designed and distributed magnets to remind families to change their smoke detectors.
  • Bryce Civiello from Evergreen, Conifer High School, designed a pamphlet for teens that can help them take the first steps toward getting help from a mental health professional.
  • Emily Clark from Colorado Springs, Rampart High School, used her own artistic ability to create a comprehensive and engaging art curriculum for fourth graders centered around what it means to be a naturalist. She partnered with a local school to teach the lessons herself and adapt the program to be used in many different educational settings.
  • Emma Conroy from Golden, Golden High School, lives with epilepsy and was inspired to help children who may feel intimidated by getting an EEG, so she created an educational video on what to expect when getting an EEG. She also developed an informative card to direct individuals to her video and partnered with local hospitals to share it with patients and families.
  • Kayla Davis from Granby, Middle Park High School, designed, built, and installed an adaptive obstacle course for the National Sports Center for the Disabled for use with their athletes. She also acquired a grant to purchase a box trailer to easily transport the obstacle course so more athletes can use it across Colorado.
  • Daisy Deane from Littleton, Regis Jesuit High School, partnered with Carson Nature Center to build mason bee houses and created an educational program for children to learn about mason bees and how they help the environment. The nature preserve continues to maintain the informational program and the mason bee houses.
  • Mariam Dhunna from Aurora, Grandview High School, created a pen pal program for children ages 11-19 living with epilepsy to show them that they are not alone and encourage them to be social. Mariam also taught a comprehensive social skills curriculum for the children focused on learning how to feel confident in establishing new relationships.
  • Sarah Dormer from Greenwood Village, Cherry Creek High School, upcycled 76 dog waste bag dispensers that her city was going to throw away by turning them into solitary beehives and birdhouses. She then distributed the beehives and birdhouses to community members at the Greenwood Village Earth Day celebration.
  • Brooke Eshbach from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, invented and built creative models of training aids for service dogs in partnership with the Paw Pals Assistance Dogs organization. Her training aids have been so helpful and successful that she now has a pending patent for the design.
  • Amy Fishman from Boulder, Fairview High School, created and taught a curriculum to encourage teens to take initiative in their connection with nature and environmental stewardship. The program she designed introduces engaging issues and gives students the tools to take action outdoors.
  • Angela Foote from Centennial, Arapahoe High School, developed a relationship between the organizations Family Promise of Denver and Denver Tech for All to ensure low-resource students and families have ongoing access to computers.
  • Madeline Ford from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, partnered with the Boys & Girls Club to create a five-session literacy program, which promotes a positive reading environment and teaches children new ways to express themselves through books and poetry.
  • Summer Gehman from Littleton, Columbine High School, created a fully functioning library for children with life-threatening diseases who attend camp at Roundup River Ranch every summer. She hosted a book drive and was able to fill the library with 1,307 books and developed a sustainable check-in and check-out program for the library.
  • Littlepage Green from Breckenridge, Summit High School, created a lesson plan and video to educate students about food allergies. In-person lessons also included training on how to properly use an epi-pen.
  • Through her own experiences with central auditory processing disorder, Kristine Guy from Monument, Colorado Springs Early Colleges, realized teachers and educators are the best resource for students to help identify the disorder within themselves. She created a comprehensive training for teachers, and developed a website and pamphlet, available in English and Spanish.
  • Maya Hegde from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, partnered with the Mangala Seva Orphanage in India and Brydges Centre in Kenya to teach girls how to make reusable sanitary pads using materials they already have. The program she developed also taught the girls how to sell sanitary pads in their own communities to tackle the stigma around the menstrual cycle.
  • Kimberly Jones from Colorado Springs partnered with her local humane society to create a comprehensive and supportive volunteer training program to support their Pets Day for children event. She also shared her curriculum for other humane societies around the country.
  • Emily Kretschmer from Colorado Springs, Air Academy High School, produced a documentary in partnership with the nonprofit Status: Code 4. The purpose of her documentary is to raise awareness of the hardship families of first responders can face and start meaningful conversations amongst families themselves.
  • Emma Lilly from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a website, created a podcast, and wrote a children’s book celebrating the Longmont Sugar Beet Factory and its historical significance.
  • Keaton Maring from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, built a life jacket loaner station at Standley Lake. Along with the station, she created an educational sign and a sustainable loaning program for the life jackets to provide more people with lifesaving equipment.
  • Grace Matsey from Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista High School, created a music tutoring program for elementary and middle school musicians, which was run by members of her high school’s Music Honor Society.
  • Mckayla Nelson from Colorado Springs created a comprehensive guide for parents and families called “Ready for Kindergarten,” which helps prepare students for success in school. The guide is available in English and Spanish and is being used by teachers and administrators across the state.
  • Annarlene Nikolaus from Colorado Springs, Discovery Canyon High School, oversaw the construction of a series of buddy benches for local K-12 public schools. Students also participated in age-appropriate lessons led by Annarlene about buddy benches and what they can do to be better friends.
  • Mykaela Ryan from Broomfield, Broomfield High School, created a video and educational presentation to inform high schoolers about how to interact with someone who stutters. As someone who experiences stuttering herself, she demonstrated bravery and pride by presenting her project directly to students at her own school, and beyond, to raise awareness and stop bullying.
  • Alyson Serio from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, called upon her own interest in graphic arts to inspire a new generation of students in her community to explore STEM through photography. She developed a photography and Photoshop club at her local middle school to get more children engaged in photography.
  • Bailey Stokes from Buena Vista, Buena Vista High School, created outdoor-based lesson plans for the use of fourth grade science teachers across Colorado. Topics covered included investigations, habitat, and adaptations.
  • Abigail Stuart from Aurora, Grandview High School, connected local food pantries with elementary schools to create a program in which she encouraged students to donate their unopened lunch snacks to their local food pantry. Over the course of her project 1,900 items were successfully donated at just one of the schools, and the schools continue to donate.
  • In memory of her friend who was killed by a drunk driver, Samantha Stuart from Aurora, Grandview High School, took action to raise awareness among her peers of the dangers of drunk driving and the need for blood donors. She planned and implemented a blood drive at her school that included educational booths on the dangers of impaired driving.
  • Victoria Tilden of Denver, East High School, noticed through her own gymnastics experience that students were often getting hurt and dropping out of the sport. To address this, she created a workshop and comprehensive training video on how to prevent injuries and how to fall safely in gymnastics. Victoria also partnered with local gyms to share and teach her curriculum to gymnasts and coaches.
  • Emily Turner of Denver, East High School, educated the public about loving a shelter pet who exhibits aggressive behavior and placed the spotlight on her own dog, Hugo. Along with Hugo, she created online training resources to raise awareness of dog aggression and give useful and practical training tips to owners.
  • Katherine Walden from Larkspur, Castle View High School, taught elementary school students about the importance of bees and how to install bee boxes that local bee species and other pollinators can call home.

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