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33 Colorado Girl Scouts earn Gold Award, the Highest Honor in Girl Scouts

In the face of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Girl Scouts continue to do all they can to 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 33 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, between March 2, 2020, and March 1, 2021. They include:

  1. Aarzoo Aggarwal from Aurora, Cherokee Trail High School, created a program called Girls are SMART (Scientists, Mathematicians, Astronomers, Researchers, Talented), during which she led a group of elementary school girls to make art utilizing STEM topics. They made chromatography butterflies, constellation boards, salt watercolor painting, painted pinecones, and drip art. After each project, they discussed the science behind the project

  2. Sidney Barbier from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Mountain School, tackled the issues of waste and recycling, particularly at Colorado state parks. She designed signage for state parks, hosted events to educate others about waste diversion, and even created a Junior Ranger curriculum.

  3. Charlotte Blish from Arvada, Arvada West High School, started a nonprofit, Watering Communities, to teach elementary-aged students about how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in developing countries.

  4. Clare Bolon from Longmont, Apex Homeschool Enrichment Program, developed and taught a week-long online course about how to write and read cursive. She also created resources to help students continue to practice their cursive after completing the course.

  5. Gayathri Budamgunta from Longmont, Niwot High School, took action to address the issue of low self-esteem and body image in middle school students ages 11-13. In doing so, she created a program called “Warm and Fuzzies,” giving students a way to connect to each other through meaningful notes/letters that they write to one another while engaging in positive reinforcements.

  6. Megan Burns from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created a website and social media presence where artists could share work created during, or inspired by, the COVID-19 pandemic.

  7. Lauren Butler from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, took action when she saw library books and textbooks being thrown away because schools are switching to digital libraries and e-textbooks. She collected more than 3,000 of those books and delivered them to multiple places in need, while creating a pipeline of book donations that will continue to supply books around the world.

  8. Safiya Dhunna from Aurora, Grandview High School, addressed the lack of education for fourth and fifth graders on the importance of e-recycling by developing a curriculum to be integrated into the STEM program at an elementary school in her community.

  9. Katie Ellenberger from Colorado Springs, Vista Ridge High School, created a space for students at Timberview Middle School to learn how to play the piano or express themselves. She also started the Painted Pianos Club and a school-wide design contest, where the students could come up with the design to paint on the pianos.

  10. Kayla Fairweather from Parker, Ponderosa High School, developed a video curriculum on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) to supplement the T1D training that teachers currently receive. It features the perspectives of diabetic students, parents, a professional athlete with T1D, an endocrinologist, and a diabetes resource nurse.

  11. Inspired by her own experience with bullying, Lily Goudreau from Monument, Lewis Palmer High School, wanted to encourage self-confidence and self-worth in middle school students. She did this by painting positive affirmations around a local school and worked with the no-bully club to maintain and add to the affirmations each year. She also created a “lunch bunch” group that helps watch out for bullying and does not allow any student to eat alone.

  12. Elizabeth Gumper from Colorado Springs, Coronado High School, created a rich online resource website, mycareerconnections.com, that gives high school students a personal, insightful look at numerous careers available throughout society through personal interviews with professionals.

  13. Zoe Johnson from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, created a handbook, video, and training program about horse care and safety to educate new or inexperienced horse owners, as well as barn staff at summer camps.

  14. Kaitlyn Ketchell from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, addressed the lack of education and awareness about eating disorders; namely, warning signs and seeking treatment, as well as general education about eating disorders by creating new curriculum and materials for local middle and high schools, as well as medical establishments (clinics, pharmacies, etc.)

  15. Breanna Lewis from Colorado Springs, Rampart High School, led online sewing classes. Attendees not only learned how to sew, but made pillowcase dresses to be delivered by missionaries to developing countries.

  16. Beatrice Lin from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, developed a workshop and handbook for Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies called “Bringing Global to Girls” (BGtG). The goal is to help younger Girl Scouts develop a sense of connection to the rest of the world and appreciation for other cultures.

  17. Ellie McWhirter from Denver, East High School, developed a series of educational materials, including a website, to decrease plastic bag use in her community and increase the knowledge of plastic bag pollution.

  18. Isabella Mendoza from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a cheap and sustainable habitat for solitary bees to lay eggs in and distributed more than 350 habitats around Colorado and the world. She also hosted a community event for people to make their own habitat.

  19. Katelyn Miller from Centennial, Grandview High School, created a website dedicated to helping veterans experiencing homelessness. It includes resources on how to help veterans experiencing homelessness, resources for them, as well as interviews with veterans.

  20. With the help of local Girl Scout troops, Ashlyn Morrill from Parker, Chaparral High School, created a pollinator garden that attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Girl Scouts learned the importance of pollinators and were inspired to do their part to help conserve the pollinator populations.

  21. Opal Mosbarger from Peyton, Falcon High School, addressed the issue of animal displacement during emergency situations. She collected kennels and blankets for Perfect Fit Wellness Center, so people can keep their pets safe during natural disasters and other emergencies.

  22. Wren Murzyn from Fort Collins, Poudre High School, partnered with doctors, nutritionists, and others to create a comprehensive guidebook to assist individuals who want to get healthy, but don’t know where to start.

  23. Meredith Neid from Denver, George Washington High School, started a self-care club at her high school to healthily address rising levels of stress amongst her peers. After the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, she adapted her project to include Zoom conversations with high school seniors about processing the pandemic and what it means to grow up during this time.

  24. To address the gender gap in STEM fields, Catherine Pederson from Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain High School, created a website with multiple resources and biographies of model female scientists.

  25. Anna Rahn from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created 17 STEM activities for schools and after-school programs. Due to the pandemic, she was unable to distribute them to local schools, so she developed a website where PDFs of the activities are available.

  26. Peyton Roeder from Erie, Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins, created the A Bright Spot program to provide children experiencing homelessness with birthday parties. The program enlists volunteers to provide all birthday party supplies through the Beyond Home program.

  27. Giada Rosch from Arvada, Westminster High School, created 50 sensory bags and resources for local organizations. She also created a sensory training program to improve customer service at various venues so that all people can enjoy a variety of activities with a few simple accommodations.

  28. Brittney Smith from Colorado Springs created an annual art show tradition at Air Academy High School to showcase student art. Art that is featured targets a worldwide issue or a controversial perspective, allowing people to connect with others through their similarities and differences, and open people’s perspectives on a worldwide issue.

  29. Bethany Taullie from La Junta, Swink High School, started the Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag program to make sure children in her community received a present and enjoyed a cake on their birthday. She collected items (including cake mix, frosting, crafts, stuffed animals, games, and more) and assembled 100 birthday bags, which were distributed to elementary schools and foster care systems in her community

  30. Inspired by her own experiences as a foster child, Katie Wilson from Longmont, Mead High School, collected more than 100 books for the foster care visitation rooms at the visitation center in Boulder County. The books will allow parents and children to connect when they are in out of home placement.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable— earned only by a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, Gold Award Girl Scouts provide innovative solutions to significant challenges. 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 Girl Scouts, and girls are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade if they join the military.

“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 we congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment.”

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. Elizabeth Gumper is the 2021 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize winner and will receive $1,000 cash gift to recognize her sustainable impact through leadership. Charlotte Blish was named Honorable Mention and will receive a $250 cash prize. “I am proud to recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said.

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. Lily Goudreau is recognized with this year’s Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award for her confidence, resilience, and courage in succeeding in life.

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.

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