2018 was a year full of Girl Scouts changing the world! Twenty-seven girls in our council earned their Gold Award this year. That means 27 girls have made a lasting impact on their communities, all together making Arizona a better place! Congratulations to all the girls who worked so hard to create change – you all inspire everyone around you to do the same! Find out all about the 2018 Gold Award Girl Scouts and their projects.
Agritopia’s Memory Care Garden
Inspired by studies showing gardening helped to improve memory, cognitive abilities, and task initiation, Isabella sought to share her passion with people diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. At the Generations Senior Living Center in Gilbert, Isabella created two garden boxes filled with flowers and fresh herbs for the memory care unit. The goal of her project was to get more residents outdoors and to help them stimulate their brains through gardening and scent recognition. As residents stimulated their brains looking at colors and identifying new flowers and herbs, Isabella personally witnessed gardening’s positive impact on people with dementia and Alzheimer's. This project allowed Isabella to work with new team members and even apply her learnings at home. She has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and will be attending the University of Arizona. Isabella is a scholarship recipient.
Library and Reading Corner for Shelter
When Ginger learned about the journey to the United States some unaccompanied minors from Central America took, she felt the need to provide these teens with additional resources and comfort. Using the teens’ input, she installed a library and reading corner for the teens at the unaccompanied minors shelter in the A New Leaf Center. She raised $500 and purchased pillows and 400 Spanish language books. Her Gold Award project has broadened her cultural awareness and helped her further develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. She also learned that she could do anything she puts her mind to, with motivation and the right resources. Ginger has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and earned her Silver Award. She plans to attend Northern Arizona University and pursue biomedical sciences or biology while also maintaining a job.
Let’s Get Growing
Rachel’s love for gardening and agriculture started at a very young age. When she learned that her former elementary school, Greenfield Elementary, didn’t have a gardening space, she designed and built raised garden beds for the students and teachers. The gardens have allowed teachers to incorporate a hands-on gardening experience into their curricula for math, economics, and science. She also guided the teachers through the new installation and helped develop a gardening program, so their students could grow food and learn about healthier eating. She hopes that this will inspire additional garden installations at all Gilbert public schools. Rachel’s project enhanced her communication skills, taught her how to adopt new ideas from others, and increased her confidence. She has been a Girl Scout for 11 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend a university to obtain an agriculture degree in soil sciences.
Veterans First Victory Garden
After learning about female veterans struggling to obtain permanent housing, Christine was compelled to create something that would aid in their transitions as new residents at Mary Ellen’s Place – an affordable housing option for female veterans. In her research, Christine learned many of the residents suffered from psychological problems and decided to create a therapeutic space where they could regain a sense of balance. She built a garden in the backyard complete with vegetable plants, herbs, and spices to not only be maintained and consumed by the residents but also used as a form of horticulture therapy. Christine was successful in bringing different people, organizations, and communities together for her project. She also gained project management skills and learned how to lead others. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and is currently enrolled at Paradise Valley Community College with plans to transfer to a four-year university. Christine is a scholarship recipient.
When Victoria learned that 25% of her fellow students at Hamilton High School receive free or reduced lunch, she researched how there could be a correlation between this and the probability of going to college. Knowing that a critical component of the college admission process is passing standardized tests like the ACT, she dedicated her Gold Award project to creating four six-week study programs that focused on key elements of the test. Victoria recruited volunteer teachers to lead the program and provided students a free study guide. Pre- and post-test assessments were conducted to measure score improvement, and the governing School District plans to evaluate results to consider adopting it into their school’s curriculum. A donation from State Farm will fund this program for the 2019-20 school year. Victoria’s project helped grow her confidence and taught her new communication skills. She joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy and plans to attend a university to major in marketing and communications.
Dream for Dresses
After reading a book written by Professor Karen Pine, Kaya learned how clothing influences a person’s mentality and the direct relation it has on students' performance in school. She then learned that in Arizona alone there are 29,537 “hidden homeless” students that might be struggling to obtain clothing and therefore underperform in school. Kaya’s Gold Award project was based on the idea that with appropriate clothing, perhaps some affected students could increase their performance in school. She hosted a sewing party, created dresses and held a clothing drive. At the end of her drive, she donated ten full boxes of clothing and 150 dresses to the House of Refuge. Through this project, she overcame a huge fear, public speaking! Kaya has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, earned her Silver Award and is studying kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island with hopes of becoming an occupational therapist. Kaya is a scholarship recipient.
Building Family Bonds Between Young Parents and Their Children
To create awareness around the effects of teen pregnancy and provide resources for those experiencing it, Cheyenne dedicated her project to Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services (TOPS). Working with this organization, she built and designed a monthly newsletter that listed free and low-cost local events for teenage parents to spend time with their child without worrying about finances. She managed the newsletter each month and trained the TOPS staff how to build and send out these communications for their clients. Cheyenne learned much about this community through her project, as well as how to be independent, manage money and be a leader through Girl Scouting. Having been a member for 12 years, she earned her Silver Award and plans to attend Arizona State University to become a graphic designer.
While fostering kittens for almost two years, Alyssa experienced the passing of four kittens in her care. The Humane Society branch she was working with told her there was nothing she could have done to save them, but Alyssa felt unsettled and wanted to ensure that no foster family goes through as many losses. She organized several groups of people to learn about fostering kittens and made cat toys for donation to the Humane Society. She also designated a shelving space and organized a closet of foster information booklets and additional cat toys for future foster families at the Society. Although Alyssa experienced a slow start recruiting volunteers and defining the details to her project, she overcame them, which bolstered her confidence and helped her learn how to communicate with others effectively. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, earned her Silver Award, plans to major in architecture and join the Peace Corps or another service-oriented organization. Alyssa is a scholarship recipient.
Fourth Grade STEM Boxes
Being part of a STEM Club and a Science of Cooking Club encouraged Trinity to share her passion for STEM education and hands-on learning. Working with the fourth-grade team at her school, she compiled a list of different projects that would encourage students to think outside the box and learn through hands-on activities. She asked companies for donations and put together STEM Boxes for the fourth-grade teachers to use in their classes. After using the projects, the teachers reported students did better on their exams and were more engaged in the curriculum. They also plan to continue using them. Trinity’s Gold Award project has helped her develop a sense of self, understand the importance of working with others, and learn how to delegate tasks. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend Ottawa University followed by law school.
Health and Service Fair
During a troop meeting held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Katelyn learned there was a lack of educational resources on emergency preparedness in her community. She, therefore, created a Health and Safety Fair at the church. Her objective was to provide materials to primarily elderly and multi-lingual families. With the help of the City of Mesa Emergency Management Office and fellow troop members, she created videos and hosted booths on sun safety, fitness, CPR and first aid. She also provided materials in both English and Spanish on topics like wildfires, monsoon storms, and hazardous materials. Due to the success, the City of Mesa provided a display for these materials within libraries in Maricopa County. Katelyn learned how to overcome challenges, budget, be more organized and to be a leader. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend Arizona State University to become a computer coder and developer. Katelyn is a scholarship recipient.
Raising the Barre
Savannah is on the student dance team and a dance teacher’s assistant at Deer Valley High School. A dance enthusiast from a young age, Savannah’s project was inspired by her love for her dance program and the desire to create awareness for the Arts in public schools. Noticing her school's dance shoes and costumes were very old, torn or broken, she decided to raise money to replace these items and help support the student Spring Showcase. She hosted a three-level dance workshop where students from local schools learned challenging routines and dance techniques and collected a small donation from each participant. Learning and using patience, delegation, and coordination, Savannah successfully revamped the dance equipment for her school. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and earned her Silver Award. She plans to major in dance performance at Grand Canyon University to work and teach professionally. Savannah is a scholarship recipient.
Learn Through Play
Having been diagnosed with a learning disability at age six, Brianna understands how people with disabilities struggle to make friends, recognize facial cues and pay attention in class. Her peers’ misconceptions prompted Brianna’s project to educate others and create toy libraries for kids with special needs. She hosted educational meetings with games where attendees experienced some limitations differently-abled students face. She gave these meeting plans to Cochise Elementary’s Best Buddy program to use on Disabilities Awareness Day. Through donations accepted at the meetings, Brianna created sensory toy libraries at Scottsdale Public Library, Chaparral High School and Oracle School District. She also made weighted lap pads and sensory tiles for the United School for Autism in Scottsdale. She has gained leadership skills, self-confidence, and learned to overcome objections. Brianna has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend a university to study business, marketing or genetic counseling.
Butterfly Garden at Granite Reef Senior Center
Since kindergarten, Isabelle could not stop talking about bugs and how she wanted to become an entomologist one day. Her passion for butterflies and the desire to help prevent their extinction inspired her project. She built a butterfly garden at the Granite Reef Senior Center where local and migrating butterflies can rest, nourish and reproduce in a pesticide-free environment. In a 15’ x 40’ unused area of grass, she transformed the space into a thriving butterfly station filled with nectar and host plants. She also informed the senior citizens at the center of the negative effects pesticides and pollution have on wildlife. Isabelle gained the support of large corporations and learned how to manage donations and volunteers and set goals. She has been a Girl Scout for 11 years, earned her Silver Award, and hopes to become a field scientist to help insects and wildlife survive in our changing environment.
Trail Closures and Hiking Safety
Wanting to address hiking safety in the Phoenix area, especially on North Mountain, Lauren created a multi-part project that would be sustainable for the environment and informational to hikers. She started by updating a hiking trail sign by adding hiker experience and proper safety information. She closed a major un-designated trail, allowing the desert landscape to restore and protect hikers from unsafe trails. She also created a water bottle sticker and Snapchat filter promoting safe hiking, reaching a large audience. Although she was terrified of making phone calls and networking with people she didn’t know, her Gold Award project has boosted her confidence, social and communication skills and has had a large impact in the hiking community at North Mountain. Lauren has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to pursue a career in the non-profit sector or public policy. Lauren is a scholarship recipient.
Pickup Your Planet
Having a love for animals and understanding that litter impacts nature and wildlife, Elizabeth designed her project to raise awareness, motivate and educate people to “pick up the planet.” She created an informational website called PickUpYourPlanet.Weebly.com for people to learn the effects of littering, as well as document where they pick up trash. The project and website have had a national and global impact – efforts from California to New York as well as Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and several European and Caribbean countries were documented. Elizabeth also led several clean up hikes and trained friends to educate and lead others. She learned about the power of the internet, how to be a leader, delegate tasks and the value of community service. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and earned her Silver Award. Elizabeth plans to attend the University of Arizona to study biochemistry, then veterinary studies at Colorado State University. Elizabeth earned The Ruth Catalano Scholarship.
Books for Valor
Inspired by military service members and her love for books, Tanner created a teen room in the Valor on Eighth housing complex that caters to female veterans with low incomes. The room was completed with over 1,000 books, 400 DVDs, dozens of board games, art supplies, and original art décor. She later added pool, air hockey, and foosball tables, as well as a letter writing station. The goal was to provide a comforting space and bring awareness to the need for affordable housing for female veterans through her fundraising efforts. Using multiple platforms like Facebook, Tanner reached over 37,000 people. Her project was made possible through their donations and her cookie program earnings. Tanner learned about teamwork and being a leader. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and earned her Silver Award. Tanner recently enlisted in the United States Navy and plans to join the police force in the future. Tanner is a scholarship recipient.
Each year, Elizabeth’s high school experienced multiple teen deaths related to drugs, alcohol and mental illness. She also learned that the highest contributing stressors for teens come from family, relationships, school, social norms and questioning their worth. Aiming to bring awareness to this issue and a resource for her peers and other teens, she created a website called TeenWealth.org. The website provides direct access to crisis helplines and other supportive organizations addressing these topics. The website also features articles, testimonies, videos and can be accessed from a mobile device using a QR code. Elizabeth learned how to create and manage a website, overcome obstacles and how to turn a passion into something that impacts an entire community. She has been a Girl Scout for nine years, earned her Silver Award and plans major in nursing and minor in business.
Boys & Girls Club Dance Program
Dancing and performing since she was three years old, Michaelyn learned that many kids her age were unable to participate due to cost. This inspired her Gold Award project, to make a dance program accessible to kids with financial hardship. She created and taught a cheer and dance program for 30 girls at the Boys and Girls Club in Guadalupe and led the teams in the Guadalupe Light Parade. Having much success, the program will continue during the football season at the Boys and Girls Club. Girl Scouting has taught Michaelyn how to embrace and share her talent, become a leader and grow confidence in herself and others. She has been a Girl Scout for ten years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend a university out of state.
Revise and Revive
Approximately 36,500 people camp in the backcountry campgrounds of the Grand Canyon National Park each year. Emma has camped at Bright Angel campground and had the opportunity to speak to a park ranger about the state of the wildlife and vegetation in the park. He explained that animals were getting harmed by eating plastic bags and trash from bins campers used to store food. So, Emma designed her project to protect the park by replacing the storage bins that were over twenty years old. Rangers and helicopters were used to install 70 boxes at Bright Angel, Indian Gardens and Cottonwood campgrounds. Additionally, she attached “Leave No Trace” informational stickers, hung posters at the camp offices and created a highly successful series for the Grand Canyon National Park Facebook page. Emma’s confidence and communication skills have grown immensely. She has been a Girl Scout for eight years and plans to study history and secondary education while minoring in parks and recreation. Emma is a scholarship recipient.
Oldies but Goodies
Brianna’s 90-year-old grandmother is the inspiration for her Gold Award Project. Spending time with her and realizing the lack of interesting programming targeted to elders her age, she thought of a way to provide meaningful entertainment to her and other elders. She created a club at Basha High School called “Oldies but Goodies” that performs older songs to the residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in her community. Brianna was able to positively impact the community by spreading joy and music and transporting residents through music to revisit some of their favorite memories. Girl Scouting helped Brianna develop valuable skills such as leadership and cooperation. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Silver Award. After high school, Brianna plans to major in hospitality with a minor in Spanish at Grand Canyon University. Brianna is a scholarship recipient.
Abby Can Change the World
Inspired by all people and those differently abled, Abigail created her Gold Award Project to lift others up and to prove that all humans have something to offer the world. For her project, she created a Facebook and Instagram page called “Abby Can Change the World” where she shares inspirational videos, articles and other content with her followers. Within a month she had over 1,500 followers on Facebook and thousands of video views. She even had followers located in 22 different countries around the world! Through this project, she has learned that to make a great impact you need a village. Abigail has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and has earned her Silver Award. She enjoys studying American history and plans to attend college to become a professional writer.
Emma has always been passionate about the environment and wanted to create something that anyone could adopt in their everyday life to positively impact the environment. For her Gold Award project, she made seed pods that contained Arizona native and bee-friendly plants. She shared them with hundreds of people and educated them on the importance of bees to our environments, their dying population and what they can do to help. Her project taught her how to “bee” a leader and how to communicate with key stakeholders in her community. She expresses that Girl Scouts has surrounded her with strong female role models, leading her to feel more confident and have a greater sense of self. Emma has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and has earned her Silver Award. She plans to study microbiology at NAU Honors College in hopes of becoming a virologist. Emma is a scholarship recipient.
Inside Youth Shooting Sports
As a nationally competitive rifle shooter, Mikayla dedicated her Gold Award project to creating awareness for youth shooting sports. Through personal experiences where people questioned her or didn’t understand the sport, Mikayla gained a passion for educating others and breaking down the stigma the sport carries. She created a video which highlights the positive impacts of the sport and addressed the common misconceptions people might have. The video also covered key elements of shooting sports including safety, fitness, and competition. Her project and Girl Scouts have taught her hard work and dedication can lead you to accomplish any large task. She believes Girl Scouts has provided her with many opportunities to grow as a person and as a leader. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend college.
Break the Silence
Holding passion for both dance and creating awareness around teen suicide, Kaylin choreographed a routine about a teenage girl who is depressed and contemplating suicide. She recorded and edited a video of it to include teen suicide hotline numbers and other resources and shared it on YouTube. She also created and distributed informational postcards and bracelets in partnership with club “Pride Strong” at her school. Kaylin brought in Teen Lifeline to talk to a group of elders about teen suicide awareness and how to help. She hopes this project starts an open conversation in her community, provides help to those contemplating suicide, and identifies the signs and symptoms of teen suicide. Kaylin learned how to establish and lead a team and that it is okay to make mistakes. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and earned her Silver Award. She plans to study chemical engineering at Arizona State University. Kaylin is a scholarship recipient.
After identifying that the youth program at her community church lacked a space of their own, Hannah converted an unused space into a garden. The garden was built with raised beds, two small perennial gardens, and tables with umbrellas, to be utilized by all the church’s groups. In addition, she developed a gardening program for youth to learn about the plants in the garden and those native to Arizona. Hannah’s Gold Award project has taught her how to manage large scale projects, to become a better leader and manage her time. By being a Girl Scout, she says she has learned that she is capable of anything as long as she works hard and is disciplined. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, has earned her Silver Award and plans to pursue a degree in graphic design.
Having volunteered at domestic violence shelters in the past, Rileigh remembered her experiences there and wanted to find a way to continue helping abuse victims. Her project involved creating four new designated therapy areas as well as renovating an unused and unmaintained space into a “Gratitude Garden” at the Sojourner Center where residents could relax and reflect. Rileigh sought and received donations from Home Depot, family and friends, which enabled her to install drought-resistant flowers, a drip irrigation system and artwork displaying positive words of encouragement. Additionally, she created a blog and video to document the project and educate others about domestic violence. Rileigh’s project has given her strength, courage and leadership skills she’ll be able to apply later in life. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Silver Award. Rileigh plans to attend a four-year university to study psychology in hopes of becoming a sports phycologist. Rileigh is a scholarship recipient.
Book Shelf and Study Tools
Understanding that some students have limited access to supplies, books, and spaces to study, Katelin focused her Gold Award project on creating a learning space with resources. At Compass Christian Church’s Bridge Community Center, Katelin installed several bookshelves near the Center’s café and filled them with 90 books for kids grades 7-12, including test prep books, textbooks, and fun reading. She also gathered scientific calculators and school supplies, like loose leaf paper and pencils, for students to use as needed. Girl Scouting has taught her life and leadership skills, how to be independent and has allowed her to share her passion for helping others in need. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Silver Award. Katelin plans to attend the nursing program at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and finish her bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona. Katelin is a scholarship recipient.
The Benefits of Going Gold
Gold Award Girl Scouts do well in life! They rate their general success significantly higher than their peers and report greater success in reaching their goals in many areas.
Higher education and career
- Distinguish yourself in the college admissions process
- Earn college scholarships
- Enter the military one rank higher
- Be seen as a role model and distinguished leader
- Master time management skills
- Make the world a better place
- Use your vision for change
- Tackle an issue, locally or globally
- Establish a lifetime network
- Create your community legacy with a sustainable solution to a problem
Source: Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study, a report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, 2012
Remember, earning a Girl Scout Gold Award is an excellent way to give any college or scholarship application that “something extra” to help you stand out from the crowd.