More than three hundred Girl Scout families and friends gathered at the Penrose House Garden Pavilion in Colorado Springs on May 6, 2016 to honor Colorado Girl Scouts who earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.
More than a dozen Girl Scouts were presented the Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. All described their projects and how earning the Gold Award has impacted their lives. The amazing young women who inspired the audience included:
- Katelyn Abbott from Cañon City, Cañon City High School, renovated the courtyard outside of Progressive Care Center, which offers nursing care, rehabilitation therapies, and Alzheimer’s care.
- After learning a local school was wasting money on trash disposal and recyclable items were being thrown away, Tristina Altman from Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Christian School, developed a recycling program for the school.
- Madison Block from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, engaged elementary school students in science and other STEM-related topics through a fair attended by more than 300 people.
- Inspired by her own passion for music, Tierra Carter from Castle Rock, Colorado Springs Early Colleges, brought music to children in the hospital. She visited with more than 300 patients under the age of 8 and offered to teach them simple songs on a keyboard or play for them.
- Hannah Clair from Colorado Springs, Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, worked to give students at her school a place to discover new friends. She designed and built a weatherproof bench that also stores many toys and games to play while making a new friend.
- Sarah Depew from Colorado Springs, The George Washington University: Online High School, wrote an almost 80-page booklet that includes original chemistry experiments for homeschool students, along with a parent manual for educators.
- Maniyah Hart from Colorado Springs, Coronado High School, partnered with Zach’s Place and the Manitou Arts Center to develop an opportunity for children with autism to experience ceramics.
- Stephanie Huisingh from Colorado Springs, Discovery Canyon Campus High School, wrote a detailed guide that lays out the specific steps for how to throw a high school party and include students with special needs.
- Helen Landwehr from Colorado Springs, Air Academy High School, refurbished and redecorated the Severe Special Needs room at Air Academy High School to make it a safe, welcoming, and effective learning environment.
- Ashley Marttila from Colorado Springs, Doherty High School, created a choir at her church to bring children together and give them the confidence to perform in front of a large audience.
- Kelsey McKenna from Colorado Springs, Air Academy High School, spread publicity for non-profit junior golf organizations by organizing a junior golf scramble where high school golfers came as mentors for younger girls.
- Lauren Moran from Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain High School, started a music program at a local retirement community, where high school musicians performed monthly and visited with residents.
- Angel Potter from Cañon City, Cañon City High School, worked with Loaves and Fishes Ministries of Fremont County and other local non-profits to collect books so children from low-resource families could discover the joy of reading.
- Meagan Prewitt from Colorado Springs, Coronado High School, created a mobile chest of activities for children with special needs who attend Sunrise United Methodist Church.
- Alyssa Scaduto from Colorado Springs, Doherty High School, brought books to low-resource families by teaching schools how to hold a used book fair, which can be supported by a book drive.
- Alessandra Smith from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, created a program that provides residents of care facilities access to iPads and resources to Skype and use other apps to stay in touch with loved ones.
Girl Scouts in grades 9th-12th who earn the Gold Award demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. More than two hundred Bronze Award honorees (the highest award a girl in grades 4th-5th can earn) and Silver Award honorees (the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn) also were presented their awards.
Girl Scouts of Colorado CEO and President Stephanie Foote said the girls’ spirit and motivation inspires us all to think of the needs of others and take action to make the world a better place.
“You are strong role models for our community and our world,” she said.
2015 Gold Award recipient Kelsey Quick served as the celebration’s emcee. She is also the winner of the inaugural Johanna Farrar Girl Scout Memorial Scholarship. To earn the highest award in Girl Scouts, Kelsey created a website and other materials to help children who have been cyberbullied. You can read more about her project here.
“Through my (Gold Award) project, I learned how to better organize my time, create a budget, and how to create a team of experts to help me successfully complete my project,” she said. “I am proud that my project is being used in several places around the state, throughout school districts and police departments. I hope I can truly make a difference in children’s lives by helping them learn how to deal with cyberbullying.”
This year Girl Scouts across the country are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts’ highest award. The focus of a Gold Award project is to identify and research a community issue she is passionate about, develop a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establish a global connection with others and provide 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.