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2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts

The Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award that Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors can earn. A project must involve a minimum of 80 hours and include the following steps: identifying an issue, investigating it thoroughly, getting help and building a team, creating a plan, presenting the plan, gathering feedback, taking action, and educating and inspiring others. It is more than just a good service project—it encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills.

Catherine Alvaro

Catherine A. – Creating a Community of Smiles

Catherine is from Sarasota County and attends Pine View School.

Learning that the homeless often do not receive adequate dental hygiene, Catherine took action. She forged a partnership between LECOM School of Dental Medicine and the Salvation Army. Catherine’s team assembled and distributed 1,500 dental kits and she’s arranged diagnostic and educational services to be continually provided by LECOM students through Salvation Army’s Hope Crisis Center. Now that’s something to smile about!

“All you need is the inspiration, motivation, and a little persistence. I discovered my community is full of wonderful people who are more than willing to help.”


Hannah Arduini - NOT HIGH RES

Hannah A. – Nourishing Nature

Hannah is from Manatee County and attends Braden River High School.

Hannah, a champion for nature, filmed a public service announcement broadcasting the negative effects of pollution and human impact on our environment, most recently manifesting as Red Tide. Leading by example, Hannah conducted local beach and lake clean-ups. She collected footage around the U.S. and interviewed officers of her school’s Environmental Club to share ways we can reduce our carbon footprint and all be stewards of the earth.

“My leadership skills have blossomed from my Gold Award project. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and am excited for what the future holds.”


Saffron Buxton

Saffron B. – Canine Comforters

Saffron is from Collier County and attends Seacrest Country Day.

Inspired by her passion for rescue dogs, Saffron partnered with Humane Society Naples to tackle the issue of overcrowding in shelters. Her goal was two-fold: educate the community about the importance of successful adoption and improve the dogs’ overall experience. Saffron collected fabric and taught classes on how to craft K-9 security blankets, created resources for new pet parents, and hosted informational workshops for teens and special needs groups.

“Because of my Gold Award I have become more confident. It certainly helped that I believed in my cause because it gave me the courage to keep going.”


Caleigh Cabral

Caleigh C. – Comfort for Cancer Warriors

Caleigh is from Charlotte County and attends Lemon Bay High School. 

Caleigh completed her Gold Award in honor of her grandpa, who she lost four years ago to cancer. With treatment rooms being kept so cold, she realized cancer warriors needed lap blankets to keep warm. Caleigh taught the members of the Lemon Bay High School Key Club how to make the blankets and arranged for the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation to be the ongoing recipient. Through her community presentations and online presence, she’s reached people as far as Rhode Island who want to help.

“My Gold Award taught me that a good leader listens to other people’s ideas and then works together to make them a reality.”


Madison Campbell

Madison C. – Bee Aware

Madison is from Sarasota County and attends Venice High School.

For her Gold Award, Madison focused on the topic of bee endangerment and how people can make changes in their everyday lives to help the pollination crisis. She interviewed apiarists and plant experts, toured nurseries and hives, and presented her findings at the downtown Venice farmers market. Madison collected signatures of people who pledge to be a bee advocate, sold honey in benefit of a local beekeeper, and passed out kits to children so they can become honey bee gardeners at home.

“I learned how to be more confident in what I have to say, schedule my time better, and be more willing to ask for help.”


Bianca Carey

Bianca C. – PeaceJam

Bianca is from Sarasota County and attends Pine View School.

PeaceJam is an international organization empowering youth to create positive change in their communities. Compelled by their mission, Bianca decided to establish a PeaceJam club at Sarasota Suncoast Academy, a local middle school. She designs and delivers the curriculum at their meetings. Her club has celebrated UN Human Rights Day, started a random acts of kindness initiative, collected donations that Bianca hand delivered to Panama, and are currently planning a Day Without Hate event.

“Thanks to my Gold Award, I am happy to say that I, along with the students, have mastered the art of brainstorming and developing an action plan.”


Bailey Chamberlain

Bailey C. – Let’s Talk About It

Bailey is from Charlotte County and attends Lemon Bay High School.

Bailey wanted to give a voice to children of all ages who have experienced sexual assault and educate the school system about the signs of sexual assault, safety tips, and where to get help. She passed a proclamation through the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners stating that one week each school year will be devoted to educating students and staff about sexual violence, which Bailey has arranged to be delivered by the Center For Abuse & Rape Emergencies.

“You have to speak up and give others the courage to speak up as well. I want to be a leader that will do something and make the world a better place.”


Emma Craig

Emma C. – Balloons Don’t Go to Heaven

Emma is from Manatee County and attends Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School.

Balloon releases are common for remembering lost loved ones or celebrating special occasions, but are extremely harmful to the environment and wildlife. Emma created a documentary, including interviews with local experts, to inform her community about balloon releases, their negative impact, and alternative solutions. Emma went on a tour of speaking engagements and even landed the opportunity to present at the international Water is Life Convention in 2020.

“A leader does not give up. Even when things did not go my way or I felt frustrated, I never gave up.”


Emily Cruce

Emily C. – Tranquil Hands and Paws

Emily is from Sarasota County and graduated from Suncoast Polytechnical High School. 

When Emily heard that the Autism House in Sarasota didn’t have the time or funds for a much-needed landscaping makeover, she went above and beyond their expectations. Her team completely overhauled the dangerous backyard and transformed it into a safe and peaceful space for autistic children and their families. Emily also provided leashes, collars, toys, bowls, and treats for the support dogs in their program. Complete with a life-size Zen garden, benches, and dog topiaries—this is paradise.

“I discovered a strong sense of self because I'm now confident in my ability to start and finish something when my heart is in it.”



Megan Keating

Megan K. – Charlotte Connection

Megan is from Charlotte County and attends Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School – Charlotte Campus.

Eager to uncover what her hometown has to offer, Megan designed a website to showcase the careers and opportunities available in Charlotte County. She coordinated interviews with community members, including the mayor, sheriff, police chief, and librarian, to get insight on their day-to-day work. Megan’s goal is to excite and retain young talent who would be entering the job force soon and bring a sense of connection back to the Charlotte area.

“My Gold Award has skyrocketed me into success and determination. I’ve learned that I’m capable of so much, even in a short amount of time.”


Ashley Manevitch LG

Ashley M. – The Great Outdoors

Ashley is from Manatee County and graduated from Braden River High School.

Children all over the world are spending less time outdoors and more time behind screens. Ashley created an activity booklet and teddy bear combo that creatively encourages children and their parents to spend time outside. Through her project, she has found families are healthier, happier, and more in touch with their natural surroundings. Ashley connected with a local day care provider who continues to share the activity booklets and teddy bears.

“Now I believe in my ability to lead a group, creatively problem solve, and think on my feet to achieve my goals.”



Emily Mayo

Emily M. – Power to Pollinators

Emily is from Lee County and attends South Fort Myers High School.

Concerned with the population decline of pollinators like bees and butterflies, Emily took to the classroom to educate 4-6 year-olds about the issue and how they can help. Her lesson plan includes two hands-on activities, an activity booklet to share with a trusted adult, and a pollinator-friendly plant to take home. Emily displayed her project at Florida Gulf Coast University and submitted an article to The Neighborhood Gardener to share with the community the work she was doing to protect pollinators.

“I like to take action and do something to solve a problem. Making a difference in my community is an important part of making a difference in the world.”


Katie Poinsett

Katie P. – Planting for Pollinators 

Katie is from Lee County and attends Estero High School.

For her Gold Award, Katie built and planted flower beds within the Lakes Park Children’s Garden. She researched which plants would best attract pollinators and installed signs to educate guests about bees and butterflies and their role in our ecosystem. Katie also had a proclamation passed in Lee County declaring March 1 as Planting for Pollinators Day. To unveil her pollination station, Katie hosted a family event that culminated with a butterfly release.

“This project has encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone, which will help me be a successful leader. I believe that my Gold Award has given me a solid foundation for my future.”


Cyress Potter

Cypress P. – Baskets for the Brain

Cypress is from Manatee County and graduated from Lakewood Ranch High School.

Cypress’s project helped senior citizens at The Sheridan at Lakewood Ranch assisted living facility relearn fine motor skills, discover a creative outlet, and experience positive social interaction. In a workshop setting, she taught a crochet pattern to the residents that resulted in a bag that could be adapted to hang on either a wheelchair or walker. Not only did the crocheting improve the residents’ dexterity and sharpen their minds, Cypress noted the bags allowed them to gain a newfound feeling of accomplishment and self-worth.

“I know now, as a result of my project, that I can address social issues that I never anticipated were part of my interests.”


Hayley Reid - 2019 Gold Award

Hayley R. – Save the Bees

Hayley is from Collier County and graduated from Naples High School.

Determined to promote the preservation of bees and bee habitats, Hayley built bee houses and spread awareness of the issue throughout her community. Using fallen trees from Hurricane Irma she constructed and installed bee houses, along with educational posters, in her neighborhood and in other public spaces. Hayley immediately recorded bee activity in her artificial habitats and hopes her project will combat the declining bee population for years to come.

“I learned a lot about myself and my community through my Gold Award. My community is very encouraging and willing to help, especially for environmental issues.”


Samantha Romero

Samantha R. – The Video Students’ Journey

Samantha is from Lee County and attends Bishop Verot High School.

Addressing the limited availability of video production education, Samantha created a video club at Bishop Verot High School. Through in-person workshops and online video classes she trained younger students in the art of film, editing, and techniques to create professional content. Samantha’s passion led her to Panama City in the fall of 2018 to document Hurricane Michael’s destruction of St. John Catholic School. Through the power of video, she was able to help the school share their story and spearhead their relief effort.

“In the future, I will continue this leadership fueled by my Gold Award, by guiding my peers to continue to help others in need.”