Ten Montgomery County members of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest honor and award a Girl Scout can achieve — along with 70 other Girl Scouts across the region.
The girls were recognized at a hybrid ceremony at Camp Laughing Waters for their outstanding achievement and dedication to making their community a better place.
Kim E. Fraites-Dow, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, and Debbie Hassan, board chairwoman at Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, were at the ceremony to share remarks and honor the girls with this prestigious award.
The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (grades 9-12) who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects.
The Gold Award is the culmination of a girl’s demonstration of leadership ability, time management, creativity, initiative, and a significant mastery of skills. Gold Award Girl Scouts individually identify a community problem, develop a plan to solve it, recruit a team to assist them, and create sustainable solutions that last for years beyond their project.
“We are proud to recognize 80 inspiring Girl Scouts who have earned the prestigious Gold Award,” Fraites-Dow said. “While this was a year of extreme change and uncertainty, these girls persevered through it all and saw their ambitious projects to completion. Through their capstone Take Action projects, they have demonstrated the five leadership outcomes we hope every Girl Scout will achieve: developing a strong sense of self, displaying positives values, seeking challenges and learning from setbacks, forming and maintaining healthy relationships, and becoming community problem solvers. These Girl Scouts join an elite group of dreamers and doers exemplifying the Girl Scout promise of making the world a better place. We know that our Gold Award Girls Scouts will step in when they are confronted with injustices of any kind, big or small, and will provide solutions … they will not step aside.”
This year’s Gold Award projects from Montgomery County include:
• Amanda E. Dodge worked with the Althouse Arboretum to create a trail and created pamphlets. Amanda’s goal was to increase the number of trails in the community and to inform the public about the benefits of hiking. Amanda lives in Gilbertsville and is part of the Boyertown Area Senior High School class of 2020.
• Rachel Gordon worked with her team and with a graphic designer to create fun and engaging blacktop games for kids to utilize at Eagleville Park in Lower Providence. The primary goal of Rachel’s project was to provide learning opportunities and happiness for children who visit the park. Rachel lives in Collegeville and is part of the Methacton High School class of 2022.
• Nicole Huggins created and installed book boxes in public areas around her community, held a book drive to stock the libraries, and created a Facebook page for parents to teach them about the importance of youth literacy. Nicole’s goal was to share her passion for literature and provide materials for young readers to hopefully encourage interest in reading and writing. Nicole lives in Ambler and is part of the Upper Dublin High School class of 2020.
• Jenna Krauss worked with Christ Lutheran Church, The Shepherd’s Shelf Food Pantry, her Girl Scout Troop (77131), a local Daisy Troop (71928), and her family to build a free little library near the community’s food pantry. Jenna’s goal was to help provide free reading resources to those who may not be able to afford them so they can build their literacy skills. Jenna lives in Harleysville and is part of the Souderton Area High School class of 2020.
• Kirsten R. Littrell worked with Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School to create an outdoor learning space where teachers can engage their students in a learning environment not dependent on technology. Kirsten’s goal was to help students understand that learning does not have to be solely confined to a classroom. She hopes her garden will help educate students about the importance of plant diversity and in turn, the students will gain a better appreciation for the natural world around them. Kirsten lives in Trooper and is part of the Methacton High School class of 2020.
• Alyssa Michel created a virtual food pantry and resource hub to serve Cheltenham, Mt. Airy, Abington, and Jenkintown communities. Alyssa’s goal was to develop a network that redistributed unwanted food from family to family as well as to local homeless shelters, sanitizing, and delivering it along the way. Alyssa lives in Elkins Park and is part of the Cheltenham High School class of 2020.
• Ashley N. Richards created a set of PowerPoint slides that are STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) based. There are two or more projects for each topic for grades K-4. Ashley’s goal in developing STEAM resources for school was to help teachers and parents keep their students actively engaged in their learning. Ashley lives in Eagleville and is part of the Methacton High School class of 2020.
• Skye Scarlett created a fencing club at her local high school to give students the opportunity to learn to fence and to expand the accessibility of the sport. To do this, she created a non-profit to pay for the club, ensuring that a student’s economic situation does not prevent their participation. Skye lives in Souderton and is part of the Souderton Area High School class of 2022.
• Devyn Stek worked with Ocean View Church of Christ in Bethany, Delaware to help beautify the church, which is along a main road, to better the whole community and brighten the area. Even though she does not attend the church, Devyn was inspired to take action when she noticed the church was a little run down and knew she could help. Devyn lives in Pottstown and is part of the Villa Maria Academy High School class of 2023.
• Kiah Zimany worked with puppies and their handlers, who she termed “Pup-teams,” and first and second graders. The kids read books at their respective reading levels to the pup-teams over Zoom. Over a course of four weeks, the kids grew in confidence and showed a greater passion for reading. She helped increase the kids’ literacy skills and confidence while reading to the pup-teams which will help them improve their ability to learn in the future. Kiah lives in Collegeville and is part of the Methacton High School class of 2020.
The Girl Scouts’ Take Action projects provide benefits with sustainable impact to their communities which truly emphasizes the remarkable power of Girl Scouts. Projects range in topic from providing younger girls with workshops and opportunities to share their experiences about body image and self-esteem, to tracking the feeding patterns and rolling out prevention techniques to mitigate the costly damages Spotted Lanternflies are causing to the environment and the local economy.
Together, this year’s Gold Award Girl Scouts completed 7,400 leadership hours of community service. Based on the latest service worth estimate of one volunteer hour ($28.54), this represents a value of more than $200,000 in community problem-solving investment for the nine counties that Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania serves.
For more information on the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit: https://www.gsep.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/highest-awards/gold-award.html