Category Archives: Gold Award Honorees

Gold Award Recipients

Gold Award Girl Scout Zoi Johns named VFW Colorado Scout of the Year

Gold Award Girl Scout Zoi Johns of Golden was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars as the Colorado Scout of the Year in June 2018. VFW recognizes the impact scouting has on not only the nation but the world. Zoi told Girl Scouts of Colorado, “Thank you for being a part of my story and my success. THIS is why we do what we do.”

Learn more about Zoi’s Gold Award project on GSCO blog: http://gscoblog.org/2017/10/girl-scout-gold-award-project-zoi-johns-golden-project-waterwise/

Gold Award Girl Scout: Katherine Walden, Larkspur, “BeeBoxin’”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project addressed the decline in local bee species, such as the leaf cutter and mason bee. Over the past several decades, local bee species have been quietly slipping into extinction leaving the ecosystem a step behind in facing such a large issue.

While bees themselves may be small, the impact and power they hold on our ecosystem is immense. However, too often their role is overlooked and not taken into consideration by much of the population. Before I started this project, eating meals was no more than a passing thought and I never thought where the food was coming from that I was ingesting. Once I began my project though, I discovered that 1/3 of every bite of food comes from the bees and the plants and crops they pollinate. Simply put without the bees, we would starve, and be forced to find expensive and alternative solutions for feeding the population.

The focus of my project was to go to elementary schools and teach about bees and install bee boxes that local bee species and other pollinators can call home. Most people don’t know a lot about bees especially local bees. Commonly people think of honeybees, however these are not included in the local bee species. Going into these schools and teaching allowed me to clear up the distinction and show just how important the local bee species are. In addition, I was able to highlight some of the factors that are causing local bee population decline including habitat destruction from wildfires and development.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

My presentations were interactive and engaging, which allowed students to ask and answer questions. Following the presentation, we were able to go outside and pick a spot to hang the bee box and using what they learned in the presentation, were able to pick out a location for the bee box. Before every presentation I would ask the kids, “What do you already know about bees?”

Being kids, I would always receive crazy ideas and stories, but then to watch the shift from general awe, to impactful interest was truly amazing. When kids start to realize that they can make a difference is something that can’t be under-appreciated.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

There are two main project impacts that are foreseeable in the future. The first being a less drastic decline in local bee populations. With the bee boxes now in place, local bees now have an additional location to nest and work. Another impact would be that now kids have learned about the importance of bees in the community and can go spread this knowledge to others to hopefully continue to spread the word on bees.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

My plan started in Larkspur and spread along the Front Range ranging from Monument to Sedalia. These three different locations were sought out because they allowed for different groups of students to come in and learn about the bee boxes, but also were placed so that they could hold an impact on the surrounding area. All three locations are somewhat rural and have gardens and the boxes should be utilized by local bees the area to increase pollination. On a national level, people from across the nation come to the Stone Canyon Discovery Ranch and will be able to learn about the bee boxes and what they provide. There is potential if there is interest for them to take a box back to their home because extra boxes were provided to the ranch so that they can be spread across the country.

Although I did complete the national requirement, I would have liked to been able to deliver the boxes to other states myself however, the time and resources needed were not achievable. Regardless, I am excited to hear from the people who take boxes from Stone Canyon and where they end up.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned to communicate more effectively with a broad range of individuals of all ages. As I begin my career as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, it is vital that I be able to communicate and be confident in what I am talking about. This project taught me to do just that, as people expected that I know the content of my project and be able to answer and questions and solve and issues that arose with the project. Whether it be teaching about bees, or guiding a plane to take off, I know that I am now better equipped to be assertive and knowledgeable in whatever role I fill.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

Before this project, I tended to be more passive and not want to go against the crowd of what people were saying. However, it has become apparent, especially in society today, that change will not occur if you are passive or refuse to share out. It is of the upmost vitality that individuals speak up and project issues that otherwise might continue to go unnoticed. By not only pointing out an issue, but being able to do something to resolve such has provided me with the experience of being able to instill change and reflect on how action caused resolution. This realization and viewpoint will propel me into my career as a military officer, whose duty is to solve and address issues that face our nation and military.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

The Gold Award was a closing step on my Girl Scout career and brought all the skills I had acquired over the years full circle. It was very exciting to be able to come up with an idea and then put in into action. Had I not done my Gold Award, I think I would have felt like I didn’t finish something and that there was stuff left to do.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

Not only did I discover a lot about bees with this project, but I also discovered a lot about myself. I learned that I enjoy teaching and being able to answer questions that people have. Of course, this seems like a common practice especially in high school, however, teaching about it to a younger generation was something special that I enjoyed. In addition, it allowed me to better understand what it means to truly be a Girl Scout- bringing about change and inspiring others to do the same.

Each one of my presentations was done with a new set of students and teachers. This allowed me to work with so many different people of all ages and understanding which bettered how I could teach about bees and make it so it had the most impact on each audience member. In addition, I learned how to communicate with staff so their classes benefitted and the content I was teaching could be incorporated into their lessons plans. By going to different locations and teaching, I was able to see how each site was going to be impacted differently.

The issue that I addressed was the decline in local bee species. My resolution to this problem was to build bee boxes and place them at different locations so that bees could now have a place to live. And while I can’t completely reverse what has already happened to the population, I can help reduce the negative impacts and assist the bee populations return. Most importantly, though I was able to educate and teach others about the issue our community faces. When kids got excited to go outside and place the bee box and paint their garden bee rocks was exciting and showed how I was able to create an impact.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

New Resource: Gold Award rubrics

Girl Scouts of Colorado is thrilled to publish new Gold Award rubrics for girls around the state to use to make their Gold Award journey successful and rewarding. The document includes a rubric for initial proposal approval and final approval, so girls can understand exactly what is expected of them throughout their Gold Award journey.

All Gold Award mentors across the state worked to develop and revise the rubrics over the last year to ensure that a wide variety of perspectives and experiences were considered.

Each girl working to pursue her Gold Award should “meet minimum standards” or above on each criterion listed on the rubric. The rubric also lists the corresponding questions on the Gold Award project proposal and final report to help understand where the information expected of each criterion is coming from.

Questions about the Gold Award process in Colorado? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org. 

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at Highest Awards celebration in Silverthorne

Nearly 100 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Silverthorne Pavilion in Silverthorne on May 11, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and 25 in the Mountain Communities region earned the Bronze Award. 10 girls in the region earned the prestigious Silver Award and three became Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at highest awards celebration in Colorado Springs

More than 300 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Penrose House at El Pomar in Colorado Springs on May 4, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and 191 in the Pikes Peak region earned the Bronze Award. 105 girls in the region earned the prestigious Silver Award and six became Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

2016 Gold Award Girl Scout Megan Burnett served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“All the skills you learn in Girl Scouts, through the meetings you plan and the badges you earn, are all intended to prepare you for the future,” she said.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at Highest Awards celebration in Denver

More than 1,000 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Denver Marriott Tech Center in Denver on April 29, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and more than 400 in the Denver Metro region earned the Bronze Award. Nearly 200 girls across the Denver Metro region earned the prestigious Silver Award. 23 girls across the region earned the Gold Award.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

2017 Gold Award Girl Scout and winner of the 2017 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence Emma Albertoni served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“I learned how to be responsible for what I said and did. I found something I believed in and learned how to speak up for my beliefs. The Gold Award also taught me how to not only work with a team, but lead a team,” she said.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at Highest Awards celebration in Loveland

More than 300 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at Embassy Suites in Loveland on April 22, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and 190 in Northern and Northeastern Colorado earned the Bronze Award. 32 girls across Northern and Northeastern Colorado earned the prestigious Silver Award. Seven girls across Northern and Northeastern Colorado earned the prestigious Gold Award.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

2016 Gold Award Girl Scout, National Young Woman of Distinction, and winner of the 2016 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence Sarah Greichen served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

Colorado lawmakers honor Gold Award Girl Scouts

On Monday, April 9, 2018, Colorado State Representatives broke from traditional business to honor 40 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. Riley Morgenthaler from Morrison received the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. She 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. 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. “Riley’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.

Riley was honored along with one other Gold Award Girl Scout, whom the selection committee for the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize determined was deserving of Honorable Mention. Marieke van Erven from 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.

Elizabeth Hoelscher from Aurora was named the first recipient of the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award. She 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. 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 40 statewide who will be receiving 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.

Girl Scouts of Colorado is 32,000 strong—more than 22,000 girls and 10,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org.

40 Colorado Girl Scouts earn Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts

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.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Geneva Ascher, Breckenridge, “Testicular and Breast Cancer Self Exams”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I instructed the freshman,  along with some sophomores, juniors, and seniors at my high school, how to perform self exams for testicular cancer and breast cancer. My project included a Google slide presentation and fake testicles and breasts, with mock cancerous lumps so that students could understand what they are looking for when performing self exams.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

Before my presentation, I conducted a survey though Google forms asking students what they would do of they every encounter an abnormality with their body. The way I asked the question lead to the biased answer of contacting a doctor, but even with my biased conclusion, students were still unsure. After my presentation, there was a very similar questionnaire on their Health Unit test, and many of the students said they would contact their doctor after finding anything different about their body.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

After the completion of my project, the health teacher and the health science teacher at my school pledged to make it a formal part of her annual curriculum at Summit High School. Beyond this, I have made a video that will be played on Tiger TV through Summit County TV10.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

Beyond just having this presented in health classes at Summit High School, my friends and I edited a video giving a quick presentation on my project ,in Video Production 2 and it will be play on Summit County TV 10 through their broadcast journalism segments produced by the students in the Video programs at Summit High School. This reaches a global connection because Summit County is a very destination/recreation vacation spot and people from all over the world can watch SCTV10 as they stay in hotels in Summit County. This video will also be uploaded to YouTube.

What did you learn about yourself?

This project was very outside of my comfort zone. I have always been very afraid of public speaking, but this project gave me the leadership skills of taking action in situations I would have normally never put my self into. Through the Gold Award project and the majority of my Girl Scout experiences have led me to be the person I am today. I am now less held back, more outgoing, and I now have the will to complete any task that is brought my way. My determination through this project has also given me the chance to be the vice president of the Certified Nurses Assistant Club, Summit Health Leaders at my school. This has also given me a chance to grow my leadership skills. The Gold Award has brought me to a mentality that I can accomplish all that I work for.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

Getting my Gold Award has proven to me that I can finish anything I put my mind to. Whether it is schoolwork or making a difference to the community around me, I now know that I can change anything that I feel needs to be changed. Dedication is one of my strongest attributes now. This can help me in the future because I am not sure what life holds for me, but I am confident I will find success.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

The most important part of my Gold Award was the awareness that I have created for two very curable cancers. My view on these cancers are that if sex and mental health are so widely talked about in schools, cancers, too, need to be talked about.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

G- This project had the intention of getting me through the stress of something that will only benefit the community and eventually the world around me. This is important to me because I have never been the greatest about completing tasks that may seem a little difficult. But because I enjoyed the topic and the atmosphere I created with my Gold Award, I was determined to complete it. This will serve me in the rest of my life because I now have the mind set that even if I do not enjoy what I am working on, the feeling of completing a given task is so rewarding it is always worth it.

I- Though out my project, I created new ideas and brought my self into new positions that I would never have put my self in. My Gold Award has created a new, interesting presentation shown through out my school, but it has brought out the best in me. I am now comfortable with my self and am comfortable with unfamiliar situations.

R- The Gold Award says nothing more than risk-taker to me. To complete this project, you need to put your self out into new positions, find new interests, and make a difference. No difference would be made in the world if people never tried anything new.

L- My high school life has been filled with different leadership positions, but the Gold Award has brought it to new heights. I am now able to finish all that is brought my way, with confidence that I have done my best.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org