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50 Colorado Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


This spring 50 Colorado Girl Scouts will receive the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts. These young women have demonstrated exceptional commitment to taking action to make the world a better place through their community service. The accomplishments of Gold Award recipients reflect 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 across the world. Topics varied from helping animals and people in need to raising self-esteem and helping younger children develop an interest in STEM. Christina Bear from Golden organized a week-long summer program for Latino students at the Horizons Summer Program at Colorado Academy. Through informal learning in computer and robot programming and mini-science experiments, students were engaged and excited about technology. Colorado Springs Girl Scout Madeline McWhorter created a cookbook for Tri-Lakes Cares Food Bank, using ingredients that are primarily donated to food banks. In Fort Collins, Girl Scouts (and sisters) Rachel and Lauren Schneider each designed projects to help both children and adults feel more comfortable in the hospital. Kelsey Quick is the first Girl Scout from Salida to earn her Gold Award since at least 2000. She created a website where young victims of cyberbullying can share stories and connect. On the Western Slope, Mikayla TerLouw encouraged family literacy and increased the number of parents who participate in reading-related activities with their children. Sarah Santilli from Erie was inspired by her volunteer work at a local hospital to organize a blood drive, which saved 72 lives, and put together a list of potential future donors for Bonfils Blood Center.  To read more about these Girl Scouts, their incredible projects, or other Girl Scouts who have earned their Gold Award this year, please see the comprehensive list below.

The Gold Award culminates with a project led by one young woman between 9th and 12th grades who builds a purpose-based team to work with the larger community to meet a need. 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. The Gold Award has been part of the Girl Scout program since 1916. 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.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Stephanie Foote, 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 is making the world a better place.”

The following Colorado Girl Scouts are among the 50 statewide who will be receiving the prestigious Gold Award for the 2014-15 Girl Scout year:

Elizabeth Acker from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, built a six station “Fitness Course” around the perimeter of her high school. She wanted to create an energizing space where anyone could go and exercise for free.

Jordan Arnell from Centennial, ThunderRidge High School, organized, supplied, and decorated a library for children at St. Elizabeth’s School in Denver, a low resource private school.

Nina Asher from Greenwood Village, Cherry Creek High School, took children from the Boys and Girls Club in Denver on a hike near Boulder, Colo. They learned about weather, forest fires, animals, habitat and safety.

Linda Baker from Fort Collins, Rocky Mountain High School, encouraged girls to get excited about STEM subjects. She created Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter pages for the Colorado FIRST Lego League website.

Christina Bear from Golden, Colorado Academy, hosted a week-long summer camp to increase interest in STEM, especially among Hispanic students.

Alexandria Bellas from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, organized a science event for girls in grades 6-8 that brought together exhibitors from across Colorado.

Kit Bernal from Falcon, Falcon High School, created supplementary art education and a curriculum for a local homeschool association.

Kayla Bernstein from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, planted a garden for all the residents of the Medallion Retirement Community.

Kirsten Brandes from Parker, Chaparral High School, designed the curriculum for a series of workshops that fostered self-worth and self-esteem in teenage girls. She presented the workshops to groups around the state.

Jonnae Byas from Colorado Springs, William J. Palmer High School, refurbished the garden at the Medallion Retirement Community.

Rebecca Clark from Colorado Springs, Rampart Range High School, organized a clinic to teach the basics of color guard to middle school students.

Emma Coffey from Thornton, Mountain Range High School, designed a video series, shown during the school’s weekly video announcements, to get kids thinking about topics like budgeting and savings.

Isabella Colosimo from Golden, Ralston Valley High School, assembled kits for children who, because they have Cystic Fibrosis, have to spend a lot of time in the hospital.

Mackenzie Crawley from Colorado Springs, Doherty High School, leveraged her love of learning and reading, and her experience volunteering at her local library to bring a sustainable tutoring service and a mini lending library to her church.

Madison Daniel from Highlands Ranch, ThunderRidge High School, captured and preserved the stories of what’s become known as the “Greatest Generation.”

Chiara Degenhardt from Ouray, Ouray High School, channeled her love for science and the outdoors into a project to benefit Ridgway State Park.

Bree Denbow from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, used an old suitcase to start a book exchange at a local park.

Catherine R. Donohue from Broomfield, Broomfield High School, built a chicken coop to help people better understand chickens and their needs. She also helped improve the quality of life for these animals, an outcome that was evidenced when her chickens moved in and immediately started laying eggs.

Nelly Grantham from Thornton, Horizon High School, created a sustainable program for supplying personal hygiene items to homeless families and those in crisis.

Madison Haneke from Castle Rock, Castle View High School, made more than 100 blankets for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at three local hospitals.

Jessica Hild from Colorado Springs rebuilt benches at Camp Alexander. She also organized volunteers to help build five new benches.

Rachel Jeffries from Lone Tree, Valor Christian High School, carried out a food drive with an inspirational twist. After collecting food, she enlisted the help of volunteers to add stickers with a positive quote or saying to each item.

Mikayla Jewell from Colorado Springs, Vista Ridge High School, helped make a softball field safer not only for her team, but other athletes as well. She also taught younger athletes how to stay safe on the field.

Madison Keith from Highlands Ranch, ThunderRidge High School, created a sustainable food pantry for pets.

Katherine Ketcham from Gunnison, Gunnison High School, hosted a STEM Day at an elementary school. Students learned about biology, chemistry, and physics.

Megan King from Centennial, Grandview High School, organized a recycling program at Jackson Lake State Park. Her efforts resulted in the collection of 1,800 pounds of materials in the first year.

Sarah Kriner from Peyton, Falcon High School, matched her passion for reading with her love of nature. She designed a bird center at her local library. Her project draws birds, which adds to the appeal for children to go to the library.

Mattie McGarey from Louisville, Fairview High School, started a blog to help young girls (especially dancers like herself) recovering from eating disorders.

Madeline McWhorter from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created a cookbook for Tri-Lakes Cares Food Bank, using ingredients that are primarily donated to food banks.

Elise Melhado from Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain High School, created a reading-friendly environment in the Partners in Housing Colorado House. She redesigned a room to better suit the space for a children’s reading space, in addition to initiating a regular reading days with the children.

Kelsey Quick from Salida, Salida High School, is the first Girl Scout from Salida to earn the Gold Award since at least 2000. For her project, she created a website and other materials to help children who have been cyberbullied.

Lyndsay Ruane from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, wanted members of her community to be better prepared when disasters strike, so she organized an emergency preparedness fair.

Dana Ruby from Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch High School, organized and ran a large clothing event at Warren Village, a transitional housing organization in Denver. At this event, the child residents could use tickets to “buy” clothing while in a store atmosphere.

Sarah Santilli from Erie, Erie High School, was inspired by her volunteer work ata local hospital to organize a blood drive, which saved 72 lives, and put together a list of potential future donors for Bonfils Blood Center.

Lauren Schneider from Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge High School, designed the Medbug, a small, stuffed creature perfect for snuggling. She directed teams of volunteers, who helped create and distribute 450 Medbugs to pediatric patients at local hospitals.

Rachel Schneider from Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge High School, provided area hospitals with 600 soft and comfortable pillowcases to make patients feel a little more at home.

Lesleigh Stabo from Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch High School, created a program to help students transferring to a new high school feel more comfortable and get information they need.

Brianna Talbot from Larkspur, Castle View High School, helped teach children in her community about poverty.

Mikayla TerLouw from Grand Junction, Palisade High School, worked to encourage family literacy and increase the number of parents who participate in reading-related activities with their children.

Vani Topkar from Lafayette, Fairview High School, taught people about Bharatanatyam, an Indian form of classical dance.

Madeline Walden from Larkspur, Castle View High School, built a vertical garden for the Douglas County Outdoor Education Facility.

Lydia Waterman from Littleton, Heritage High School, made kits to help patients at Littleton Adventist Hospital feel more at home.

Kelly Winn from Sedalia, Castle View High School, built a miniature library at the Sedalia Museum and Gardens for community members and visitors to exchange books, articles and magazines.

Girl Scouts of Colorado plans to honor this year’s Gold Award recipients as well as recipients of Girl Scouts other two Highest Awards, the Silver and Bronze, at several upcoming ceremonies around the state. These events include:

  1. April 24th at 5:30 p.m. at The Ranch- McKee Building 5280 Arena Circle Loveland

  1. April 26th at 2 p.m. at Mountain View Methodist Church, 355 Ponca Pl., Boulder

  1. April 28th at 7 p.m. Faith Bible Chapel, Atrium 6250 Wright St., Arvada

  1. May 1st at 6:30 p.m. at the Roper Ballroom 136 N. 5th Street, Grand Junction

  1. May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Penrose House Garden Pavilion 1661 Mesa Ave., Colorado Springs



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