Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Weekly Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight

Check out this week’ s sampling of go-getting, innovating, risk-taking Gold Award Girl Scouts—young women who know what it means to lead with true G.I.R.L. spirit!

Sophie, Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama

Having a family history of Alzheimer’s and dementia, Gold Award Girl Scout Sophie decided to educate her community about the conditions and provide guidance for sewing “sensory mats” for local seniors. Sophie, a college freshman, created a Facebook page, pamphlets, and tutorials on making sensory mats and passed the project along to a local crafting group, through which volunteers made 61 mats in one afternoon! Sensory mats not only exercise fingers but have been shown to be therapeutic by lifting spirits and stimulating the senses. After her great grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Sophie’s mother talked about how “she loved to sit and fold washcloths for hours.”

Learn more about Sophie’s Sensory for seniors project.

Shannon, Girl Scouts of Council of Colonial Coast

At the age of seven, Gold Award Girl Scout Shannon moved to the United States from Taiwan.
Knowing the immigrant experience personally, she remembers the challenges of adjusting to a new culture and living with a language barrier. It was these experiences that inspired Shannon’s Gold Award project, HIFIVE: Helping Immigrant Families Integrate, Venture, and Excel. By interviewing newly settled immigrants in her area, Shannon was able to pinpoint some of the obstacles they face, and she used the information to create a website offering resources to help other local immigrant newcomers succeed and feel welcomed. The content is available in Spanish, Mandarin, and English, and includes a handbook, listing of free public services, educational opportunities, English-learning materials, and more.

Learn more about Shannon’s HIFIVE project.

Diana, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

When Gold Award Girl Scout Diana was 14, her father was diagnosed with leukemia. As the only child in her family, she helped her mom considerably with her father’s care. With her own experiences in mind, for her Girl Scout Gold Award project Diana decided to help the kids at Camp Ronald McDonald, a cost-free camp where kids with cancer and their siblings can have a fun time together. The 18-year-old Girl Scout met with the camp’s executive director to ask what the camp needed, and the answer was kitchen tables. Turns out Diana, an aspiring biomedical engineer, had recently taken an engineering class, and so happily offered to design and build the tables herself! Not only did she fundraise the money needed to build wheelchair-accessible tables—she raised an additional $1,000 that went toward kitchen equipment for the camp.

Learn more about Diana’s project.

Mary, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. 
In hopes of improving memory function in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, Gold Award Girl Scout Mary painted a mural at a local senior center. The mural is designed to facilitate memory recall, inspired by Iowa’s scenery, with beautiful flowers and trees painted in bright colors to stimulate brain activity. Mary notes that one of the most rewarding highlights of her project was when patients who struggle to remember simple everyday facts stopped to tell her childhood stories activated by her mural. She encourages other facilities to adopt similar means of improving memory through art and has created a brochure about her project to assist caregivers.

Learn more about Mary’s A Mural to Remember.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are recipients of one of the most prestigious awards in the world for girls. By the time they put the final touches on their seven-step projects, they’ll have addressed a significant problem in their community—not only in the short term, but with a plan to sustain the work for years into the future. They’re also eligible for college scholarships and to enter the military one rank higher than non–Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Got a Girl Scout Gold Award story to share? Send the details and relevant photos to socialmedia@girlscouts.org for a chance to have it featured.