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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. The following are the projects of the girls who most recently have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Blair, Katelyn

Katelyn B. - The Relaxation Garden
Katelyn is from Lee County and attends Cape Coral High School.

After discovering that budget cuts at the Cape Coral Group Homes would affect the members’ access to healthier foods, Katelyn sprang into action. With the help of her team, she planted a vegetable garden and installed benches to provide a safe, relaxing environment, while promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Members of the Group Home were involved in the project and look forward to tending the garden for years to come.

“Because of this project, I have become more confident. I overcame my shyness in order to take the lead and make my project a success.”

Watch Katelyn's Gold Award Video

Chiodo, Devon

Devon C. - Paws Matter
Devon is from Sarasota County and attends Sarasota High School.

As a volunteer at Cat Depot, Devon learned the organization is strongly against declawing. This sparked her interest to investigate the pros and cons of cat declawing and create a documentary with interviews from local veterinarians. Devon wants to educate the public on why cat declawing is often dangerous to the cat’s health, mobility, and overall happiness. Since cats cannot speak up for themselves, Devon hopes her voice will be loud enough to make a difference.

“My Gold Award project helped me gain more confidence with public speaking and communicating to others directly.”

Watch Devon's Gold Award Video

Holliday, Faith

Faith H. - Donte’s Den Agility Course
Faith is from Sarasota County and attends Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School.

Faith, a canine enthusiast, understands how important it is for dogs to have daily exercise to be healthy. She teamed up with Donte’s Den, an organization that cares for dogs separated from their families, to construct an outdoor agility course. The course, built with donated supplies, includes a teeter-totter to cross, hurdles to jump, and poles to weave through. Faith’s new furry friends are having a doggone good time!

“Because of this project, I discovered I can lead a group and make a work environment fun and positive. I was also able to improve my time management skills.” 

Watch Faith's Gold Award Video

Horsley, Bekah

Bekah H. - Goals for Grenada
Bekah is from Sarasota County and attends Venice High School.

Bekah has been playing soccer since age four. As she matured, she realized that not all kids have the opportunity to play. Bekah took her passion for the sport to the poorest community in Grenada and hosted a soccer camp for the local children. She brought balls, shin guards, socks, goals, and even custom shirts for 50 children. In spite of cultural differences, Bekah was able to connect with the children through their shared love for the international sport.

“Because of this project, I learned what true joy is. Joy and happiness do not come from material items. Joy comes from community, human connection, and simplicity.”

Watch Bekah's Gold Award Video

Hugan, Emily

Emily H. - Sisters in STEM
Emily is from Collier County and attends Naples High School.

Passionate about STEM, but disappointed in the lack of female representation in the field, Emily was determined to encourage and educate younger girls about STEM opportunities. She hosted a workshop with interactive engineering, chemistry, and filmography stations. To reinforce her event, Emily created a podcast targeted to girls that highlights influential female figures in STEM throughout history.

“I now know that the purpose of being a leader is not for the betterment of yourself, but the betterment of others.”

Watch Emily's Gold Award Video

Lake, Olivia

Olivia L. - Passion through Fashion
Olivia is from Manatee County and attends Manatee High School.

Concerned with societal pressures from the fashion and beauty industries on young women and girls, Olivia hosted an educational workshop with three influential female speakers. She also organized an online pledge encouraging people to proclaim their self-love, which now has over 140 signatures. Through Olivia’s passion for fashion, she has inspired future generations to feel comfortable in their own skin.

“Because of this project, I discovered a stronger sense of self. I learned even more about my desire to help the young women of my generation.”

Watch Olivia's Gold Award Video

LeVasseur, Anne

Anne L. - Good Night, All
Anne is from Charlotte County and attends Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School – Charlotte Campus.

Compelled to provide foster children with a sense of ownership and comfort, Anne partnered with local churches, clubs, and businesses to organize and collect hundreds of pajamas to help foster children have a good night’s sleep. Anne also hosted a tour of speaking engagements where she encouraged volunteers to consider representing foster children’s best interests in court through the Guardian ad Litem Program.

“It is important to me to help those in need and to work to make my community a better place. I know my project has made a difference in the lives of children.”

Watch Anne's Gold Award Video

Marchetti, Katelyn - Cropped - CMYK

Katelyn M. - Happehatchee Community Stage
Katelyn is from Lee County and attends Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School – Lee Campus.

After seeing the community stage at the Happehatchee Center in Estero had rotted and become unfit for use, Katelyn brainstormed a plan to replace the stage and revitalize the surrounding outdoor classroom. Her contribution to the center will provide a lasting space for many to learn about Florida’s native plants and animals, while encouraging the preservation of green spaces in our rapidly developing world.

“This project taught me that sometimes you have to keep working, even when you are tired, to get the job done. I’ve learned that I can do anything I put my mind to.”

Watch Katelyn's Gold Award Video

Mikkelson, Maegan

Maegan M. - Butterfly Aviary Renovation
Maegan is from Lee County and attends North Fort Myers High School.

Appreciating the environmental benefits of butterflies, Maegan couldn’t help but take action when she heard the butterfly aviary at the Calusa Nature Center was in a state of disrepair due to lack of funds and damage from Hurricane Irma. Not only did Maegan carefully research and build a sustainable butterfly garden, she implemented a weekly educational program for youth visitors to learn why butterflies are so crucial for natural pest control and pollination. 

“I am happy that I have found a passion in something that can benefit others and our local communities through my Girl Scout Gold Award journey.”

Watch Maegan's Gold Award Video

Miller, Erika

Erika M. - Skirts for All
Erika is from Collier County and attends Naples High School.

Erika believes that sewing is an important skill that is quickly becoming lost in the modern world. She invited young girls to join a workshop where she taught an introductory lesson on how to sew a reversible wrap skirt. Together, they sewed 20 skirts, which they donated to Love A Child, an organization serving children in Haiti. By uploading a do-it-yourself reversible skirt video, she hopes others will be inspired to create and donate clothes to the less fortunate.

“Following the steps to complete my Gold Award have prepared me for future leadership projects in college, my career, and life.”

Watch Erika's Gold Award Video

Mioduszewski, Emily

Emily M. - #urnotalone
Emily is from Sarasota County and attends Venice High School.

After learning that 25% of teenagers suffer from anxiety, Emily was inspired to address mental illnesses and remove the taboo around them in today’s society. She recorded and uploaded a series of interviews with psychologist Dr. Chris Cortman discussing a variety of mental disorders. Emily feels that if people are more educated about mental health, children and adults alike will feel more comfortable speaking out and can receive the help they need.

“As a result of this project, I learned that no project is too big for me. I know if I put my mind towards something, then I can get it done properly.”

Watch Emily's Gold Award Video

Moody, Reagan

Reagan M. - Building Bridges to Cuba
Reagan is from Charlotte County and attends Lemon Bay High School.

Fascinated with the proximity of Cuba to the United States, yet lack of relationship between the two, Reagan decided to build a metaphorical bridge to improve the lives of Cuban children. She spent three years collecting and sending homemade gifts and handwritten letters to children living in poverty, so they could feel loved and connected to others beyond their own community. One day she hopes to visit her new friends in person so she can see first-hand the impact of her project. 

“Because of this project, I now know how it feels to have a connection with people outside of my own country, and how important it is to communicate with others.”

Watch Reagan's Gold Award Video

Pyle, Julie

Julie P. - Weight of the World
Julie is from Manatee County and attends Palmetto High School.

For her Gold Award project, Julie set out to educate the public about sensory disorders and provide resources for those living with conditions like Dysautonomia. Weighted lap pads are often used to soothe children and even adults with sensory disorders, but can be expensive. Julie sewed more than 100 weighted lap pads to donate to children in need, so they can be more focused on learning while at school.

“In the future, I will be able to recognize issues in my community, so I can devise a plan and build a team to alleviate or fix the problem.”

Watch Julie's Gold Award Video

Rubarski, Victoria

Victoria R. - Planet Oceane
Victoria is from Lee County and attends North Fort Myers High School.

Motivated to clean up Fort Myers Beach, Victoria gathered a team, rolled up her sleeves, and took action. Victoria is establishing a nonprofit called Planet Oceane, which would initiate a ban on plastic bags at the beach, call for an increase in trash and recycling receptacles, and sponsor an ongoing beach patrol. She hopes that by altering beach-goers’ behaviors, one day pollution on our shores will no longer be an issue. 

“I learned that it doesn’t take hundreds of people to make a difference, and to inspire change. It can start with one person. Now, I believe in myself. I can step back and see the change I have made.”

Watch Victoria's Gold Award Video

Stepanek, Isabella

Isabella S. - Izzy’s Swinging Skirts
Isabella is from Sarasota County and attends Pine View School.

Isabella has spent her entire life playing sports and over the years observed one major consistency – there are always more boys involved than girls. Isabella partnered with Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County to provide an ongoing golf clinic for girls. She believes every girl deserves the opportunity to be exposed to sports, regardless of her socioeconomic status. Isabella recognizes that golf, like all sports, teaches integrity, patience, and hard work. 

“This project has allowed me to advocate for myself and others, empowered me to make a difference in the world, and most importantly, I got to educate and inspire others to act.”

Watch Isabella's Gold Award Video

Susko, Sierra

Sierra S. - History Debunked
Sierra is from Lee County and is homeschooled.

Recognizing that students and eligible voters are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities as US citizens, Sierra developed a comprehensive training course covering basic US history and government. To make her resources available to everyone, Sierra produced a YouTube tutorial that highlights the topics she addressed in class. She also spoke to county commissioners, local news stations, and the school board to encourage the promotion of her video.

“I’ve determined that if I have a goal in mind, despite roadblocks and challenges, I can persevere and accomplish anything that comes my way.”

Watch Sierra's Gold Award Video

Townsend, Grace

Grace T. - Changing Tides
Grace is from Manatee County and attends Braden River High School.

Worried that children were not learning enough about the global marine environment, Grace took matters into her own hands. She ran a class for both children and their parents to learn about what they can do to make sure the next generation has a cleaner earth with healthier marine wildlife. Grace also wrote a children’s book titled “A Change in Tides,” which describes the ocean’s food web, types of underwater creatures, and how humans can make a positive difference.

“My leadership skills have grown vastly as a result of this project, because it has inspired me to develop myself more through others. Every good leader needs a circle of support, and I understand that now.”

Watch Grace's Gold Award Video

Weeks, Madison

Madison W. - How Can I Find the Right Reading Resource?
Madison is from Collier County and attends Naples High School.

Madison’s Gold Award project transformed the disorganized and outdated reading resource room at Golden Terrace Elementary into a cataloged, user-friendly space.  She established a check-out system so teachers can find what they need quickly and conveniently. She knows the easier it is for teachers to access resources, the better experience they can provide for their students. Madison even used personal funds to purchase the school a new set of books. 

“The project itself is relatively small on a global scale, but for this one school and community around it, it can make such a big difference.”

Watch Madison's Gold Award Video

Zuluaga, Valentina

Valentina Z. - International Culture Sharing Club
Valentina is from Collier County and attends Mason Classical Academy.

Planning to study international policy and relations when she enters college in the fall, Valentina used her Gold Award as an opportunity to introduce students to local and global cultures and issues. She organized an International Culture Sharing Club at a local school, and hosted its inaugural event with representation of countries like Colombia, Haiti, United States, and Mexico.

“I feel empowered to make a difference in the world by encouraging others to look beyond their own lives and comforts toward improving the lives of the less fortunate.”

Watch Valentina's Gold Award Video