Girl Scouts make our world a better place by taking action to address issues facing their local communities. There are no better examples of this Girl Scout spirit and resiliency than the 45 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, this year. Gold Award Girl Scouts are high school girls who address issues they’re passionate about by planning and implementing a project that produces lasting change in their communities and beyond. They include:
- Kayla Bauer, Aurora, Healthy Kids Healthy Choices – Kayla partnered with Frontline Farming to create an easily accessible online resource to inspire children to choose healthy food options and consider engaging with community gardens. Her website includes healthy recipes, games, coloring pages, and educational materials, in both English and Spanish.
- Grace Bielefeldt, Highlands Ranch, Mental Health Recognition through Community Art – Inspired by her community coming together to deal with mental health issues after the school shooting at The STEM School Highlands Ranch, Grace wanted to create an awareness campaign to break down the stigma of dealing with those issues. In addition to a robust social media campaign, Grace worked with a local artist to unveil a comprehensive art piece at the community center where students were dispatched during the shooting.
- Samantha Bonfiglio Oswald, Westminster, Paint the Town Gold – Samantha worked with the City of Thornton to use a pedestrian underpass as a blank canvas for community artists to express themselves legally and freely. The space not only helped beautify her community, but also promotes the appreciation and support for public art. Local art teachers will continue to promote the blank canvas to their students for years to come.
- Ruby Boswell, Colorado Springs, Closet of Confidence – Ruby wished to make students at her school feel they can be confident, powerful, and brave all the time. To accomplish this, she created the Closet of Confidence that provides free, discrete feminine hygiene products to all students in need. The closet will continue to serve students and be maintained by her school’s National Honor Society and Parent Teacher Organization.
- Caitlyn Branine, Centennial, A Safe Place 2 Share – Caitlyn developed and created ASafePlace2Share.org. The website helps teens with emotional challenges find peer support through an online community. She also created a podcast and partnered with the Log Off Movement to engage teens in conversations about their struggles and to support one another.
- Hannah Brothers, Monument, Outdoors Club & Bike Drive – Hannah partnered with Kids on Bikes to organize a bike drive for kids in need. To sustain the annual bike drive, she also established a thriving outdoor club at her school that plans outdoor activities for students to promote a love for the outdoors and an active lifestyle.
- Kailani Cantu, Denver, Denver Trade School Finder – Kailani noticed a lack of information about education and careers in trade fields for high school students in her community. To address this, she created an online resource for students to explore careers in trade professions, research educational paths in their community, and connect to local professionals.
- Gillian Clark, Steamboat Springs, Bats & Benefits – Gillian partnered with a local environmental education organization, Yampatika, to address the issue of decreasing bat populations by designing, building, and installing bat habitats. The habitats ensure that the bat population in her community will continue to grow and thrive.
- Natasha Curzon, Steamboat Springs, Mountains & Mental Wellness – Natasha created a mental health and wellness curriculum centered around mindfulness in the outdoors, in partnership with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Her comprehensive program focuses on normalizing mental health issues and provides healthy coping mechanisms, such as meditation, yoga, and journaling.
- Macy Dehm, Glenwood Springs, Bracelets for Bears – Macy used her talent for making and selling jewelry to help fund the purchase of an acre of land at the Wild Animal Refuge in the name of Girl Scouts of Colorado. She also created a program, took many younger Girl Scouts to visit the refuge, and will continue to make the space available for Girl Scouts to use for years to come.
- Olivia DiGiacinto, Castle Rock, Holocaust Education Program – Olivia created a comprehensive Holocaust curriculum for middle schoolers to address antisemitism in school environments. By educating students, she hopes to empower Jewish students to not feel marginalized and for their peers to recognize how hurtful that experience can be.
- Iris Eisele, Colorado Springs, Project Inclusion – Through Project Inclusion, Iris created an online platform for students at her school to be acquainted with the special education population. Having all students engage with her social platform created an environment in which all students know each other and can be inclusive when they are together in class, or in social settings.
- Brooke Ferrel, Castle Rock, Everybody is a Mutant – In partnership with a professor at the University of Utah, Brooke conducted research on genetic mutations in the mitochondrial DNA of cyamids. Using her own research, she created a curriculum for students about genetic mutation to encourage them to accept differences in all people.
- Hailey Forar, Littleton, Target Safety – Hailey worked with a local gun range and a Colorado Parks and Wildlife range to create and adapt safety videos geared toward a younger audience. Her videos are a great resource to teach children about the importance of gun safety and will be used in classes and shared with her community for years to come.
- Lauren Frisch, Broomfield, Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness – Lauren partnered with the Family Promise organization to create a bridge housing program at her church for families experiencing homelessness. The church now provides short-term housing for families, so they have a self-reliant living situation while they get back on their feet.
- Celeste Fullerton, Carbondale, Vaping Prevention Program – Celeste launched a comprehensive awareness campaign to inform students about the dangers of vaping. As part of her campaign, Celeste created a documentary and developed the Junior Vaping Prevention Specialist program. Both allow students to hear from their peers about the negative effects of vaping.
- Janae Gadbois, Thornton, Community of Hope Garden – Janae worked with the Intercession Episcopal Church to make their community garden more efficient and functional. The community garden now provides fresh, organic food to families in need.
- Bella Gigoux, Grand Junction, Sensory Processing Disorder Exhibit – Inspired by her sister’s experience with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Isabella wanted to raise awareness about SPD. To do so, she collaborated with Eureka! McConnell Science Museum to create a sensory exhibit that provides basic resources and information about SPD.
- Allison Graham, Colorado Springs, School in the Woods Nature Trail – Allison built a nature trail at School in the Woods to provide the students with a safe, outdoor activity on school property. She also established a volunteer committee of parents who will maintain the trail and continue to promote outdoor education to students and teachers.
- Laura Greichen, Centennial, The Charlie Project – Inspired by her own experience at The STEM School Highlands Ranch and her support dog, Charlie, Laura created The Charlie Project. The Charlie Project is a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect school shooting survivors to support dogs, along with mental health education, and support.
- Tessa Griffith, Hotchkiss, Self-Defense Education – Tessa worked with the Delta County Sheriff and Hotchkiss Marshal’s office to create a program at her high school that educates students on self-defense. Future generations of students will continue to learn how to keep themselves safe through Tessa’s program.
- Kaitlyn Harris, Aurora, Anti-Bullying Education – After noticing that most anti-bullying programs do not address the root cause of the problem, Kaitlyn created a curriculum for students at Smoky Hill High School to learn the importance of empathy and kindness. She hopes that by teaching the importance of kindness, students will be less likely to engage in bullying and more likely to stand up to bullies.
- Anna Hartwick, Broomfield, Conserve Birds at Home – Anna’s project addressed the issue of declining bird populations due to human-related causes by educating the community on how to reduce their bird-window collisions. She did this by giving many community presentations, sponsored by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, creating conservebirdsathome.org, and self-publishing her story, Billy the Bird Visits the City.
- Jessica Johnson, Colorado Springs, Rise Up! – Jessica wrote, illustrated, and published the Rise of Sorceress, a comic book series with a Black, female superhero, to address the lack of representation of diversity in the comic book world. With her book, she hopes to inspire others in her community and instill confidence in other young, Black women. Rise of the Sorceress is available for purchase on Amazon.
- Jane Kealey, Denver, #UNIFIED – Jane wanted to strengthen the community of inclusion at East High School by creating the annual #UNIFIED assembly to educate students on their special education program and introduce them to differently abled students. The #UNIFIED club will further develop and promote the assembly for all upcoming East High School classes.
- Megan King, Monument, Operation Pollination – To address the growing issue of pollinators losing their natural habitats, Megan built and installed bee hotels in her community. Each habitat also includes a QR code linked to an informational website that Megan created to raise awareness about the importance of protecting pollinator habitats.
- Allison Kisicki, Arvada, In My Head – Allison wrote and developed “In My Head,” a play that helps break down the stigma of struggling with mental health issues. The show highlights six types of anxieties and how the characters learn to cope and accept those issues. The play premiered on YouTube and the book was shared with theater teachers who can stage the play at their own schools.
- Jackie Lawless, Westminster, The Sea Bunny – Jackie set out to educate Coloradans on the importance of ocean pollution and how we can affect change, even in a landlocked state. She created the Sea Bunny, a character who educates and inspires change through an interactive YouTube channel using footage from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. The Sea Bunny and the channel appeals to people of all ages.
- Ciara Leal, Lakewood, Support for Single Mothers – Ciara created an online donation pipeline of household and baby items to help single mothers at Mary’s Homes of Hope around Colorado. By developing an easy-to-use online donation website, the organization can continue promoting and collecting donations for mothers staying in their homes for years to come.
- Kendyl MacAskill, Grand Junction, Choose Freedom – Kendyl increased awareness and support of Colorado Discover Ability (CDA) to make the world a better place for children with disabilities. She worked with Camp Freedom to strengthen their fundraising and volunteer program by creating an educational video, highlighting valuable testimonies of campers.
- Julia Martin, Castle Rock, Castle View High School Recycling Program – Julia developed and implemented a full, in-class recycling program at Castle View High School. By providing bins in classrooms, her program encourages students to take responsibility and ownership over their own recycling.
- Nicole McCloskey, Colorado Springs, Stitching for Good – As an avid seamstress herself, Nicole created an online resource to connect people who love to sew with organizations that take donations of sewn items. Anyone can visit stitchingforgood.org to find places to donate the items they make and find sewing patterns for frequently donated items.
- Alexis Mobley, Aurora, Kits 4 Cancer – Alexis supported the Cancer Center at Parker Adventist Hospital to create a donation pipeline of comfort kits for patients. The kits include simple necessities and are handed out while patients are undergoing chemotherapy.
- Sophie Reynolds, Castle Rock, Exploring Biotech – To inspire girls to consider an interest and career in biotech, Sophie created a biotech workshop and patch for Girl Scouts. Her workshop includes fun, educational activities that allow girls to explore some of the mysteries of biotechnology, hear testimonies from women in biotech, and, hopefully, inspire them to become scientists.
- Heather Robson, Colorado Springs, Guinea Pig Care – As someone who loves guinea pigs, Heather was concerned about a growing issue of guinea pigs returned to the humane society after adoption. To address this, Heather created an informational program for local humane societies to share with families considering adoption, so they have all the facts before making a decision.
- Genesis Rodriguez, Arvada, Latinx Girls in the Future – Genesis encouraged more Latinx and female aligned diversity in STEM fields by creating virtual programming for students. Her curriculum takes the students through fun and engaging activities and exposes them to several potential STEM careers. Through her programming, she reached Latinx students from 2nd–12th grade.
- Corinne Roe, Westminster, Igniting Adventure – Corinne created and ran a day camp to inspire young girls to be more comfortable in the outdoors and consider careers in the military and outdoor professions. Her camp and online resources teach girls survival skills like fire safety, basic first aid, shelter building, and leave no trace.
- Sarah Schumacher, Berthoud, The Culture of ASL to Our World – Sarah created a club at her local elementary school for 3rd-5th graders that works to raise awareness and knowledge about the deaf community and teach students American Sign Language. The club will continue to serve students and make it easier for deaf students to communicate and be included.
- Madison Seckman, Centennial, Your Level Reading – Madison created a robust, online resource for parents and students to be informed about potential triggers and mature topics in books they’re reading. Her vast network of volunteers read books and submit information that can be found by readers on her website.
- Larissa Snoddy, Colorado Springs, Feral Cat Protection – Larissa noticed a lack of education about the difference between feral and stray cats and how the community can work together to handle cats in their area. To address this, she created an awareness campaign and website to educate the community.
- Zofia Stroman, Steamboat Springs, Documenting a Moment in Time – Zofia directed, filmed, and produced a documentary about the lives of people in her community during the pandemic. She also created instructional materials to inspire and help young people in her community create their own documentaries.
- Jayden Thomason, Mancos, The C6H1206 Hiding in your Drink – Jayden partnered with the Montelores Early Childhood Council (MECC) to host a booth at their annual health fair in Cortez, to educate parents and kids about the dangers and impacts of sugary drinks. The MECC will continue to take on this issue and promote her information in their community.
- Alexis Vaille, Dillon, Hope Squad – Alexis created a program to be implemented into her school to break down the stigma of struggling with mental health issues. Her program also teaches students how to identify the signs of mental health issues to create more awareness and peer support within the community.
- Willow Wilson, Westminster, Save The Stars – Willow set out to address the issue of light pollution by addressing the lack of understanding in the general population and her local government. Her program wasdirected at educating the City of Westminster and local students about how they can affect light pollution and support Dark Sky places and organizations.
- Hannah Wurl, Aurora, Study Skillz 4 Kidz – Hannah created a program for K-8th grade teachers to use in their classrooms to educate students about different learning styles and how knowing your learning style can help you learn. Her program includes story maps and reading logs to help students with different learning styles.
A Gold Award Girl Scout, no matter her background or ability, learns to tap into the world-changing power within her. She takes the lead in designing and enacting a plan for change and makes a positive impact in her community and beyond.
Gold Award Girl Scouts discover they have the power to create the future they want for themselves and others, and it shows. According to recent research, Gold Award Girl Scouts are significantly more satisfied—with their personal lives, with their education, professionally, and financially—than non-Girl Scouts. Eighty-five percent of Gold Award Girl Scouts say that earning their Gold Award gave them skills to succeed in their daily lives, and eighty-seven percent say it gave them skills to help them succeed professionally.
“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good—and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Leanna Clark, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado.“Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and she’s grown as a leader in the process. We congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment, and I can’t wait to see what they can achieve in the future.”
Each year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to earn the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. This award was made possible through a generous gift to Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Endowment by Girl Scouts of Colorado’s former President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote. In addition, the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting 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.
Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls. 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.
Gold Award Girl Scouts become innovative problem solvers, empathetic leaders, confident public speakers, and focused project managers. They learn resourcefulness, tenacity, and decision-making skills, giving them an edge personally and professionally.
Changing the world doesn’t end when a Girl Scout earns her Gold Award: 96% of Gold Award Girl Scouts say their experience inspired their ongoing commitment to service or volunteering, and 95% say it made them more responsible members of their communities.
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 Hannah Gutkind, Girl Scouts of Colorado public relations manager.