Here is the most recent Girl Scout Gold Award winners, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. The information was provided by the Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council. Included are names, troop number and a description of their project.
Ashley Baich, Charlotte, Troop 10001. Ashley’s project, The Successful College Recruitment Process, addresses the lack of knowledge that student athletes have about being recruited to play for college. She created a website for her local team to showcase student athletes and give them the resources they need to become a candidate for recruitment. She created a YouTube video with step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the website, so that any sporting organization around the world can use it.
Katharine Bernart, Charlotte, Troop 1356. Katharine’s project, Science Investigations, focuses on children who have experienced trauma or have underdeveloped sensory skills. There are children worldwide with this issue, and their learning needs are often misunderstood. The curriculum developed through this project serves as a template for how teaching challenged learners should be approached: hands-on, flexible, and guided by students’ curiosity. The science investigation plans are currently being used by local agencies and have also been shared statewide.
Natalie Black, Davidson, Troop 2996. Natalie’s project, Life is Beautiful, focuses on teen suicide prevention awareness and using Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training to help prevent suicide. She created her own suicide prevention website and video and has shared the links on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, in order to make suicide prevention training readily available to anyone at any time. Natalie has taught more than 650 people how to prevent suicide.
Natalie Kay Brown, Charlotte, Troop 1115. Natalie’s project, Even the Ugliest Ducklings Need Help, addresses the issue of ducks/ducklings not having a place to be safe from predators. She found that providing a safe haven for ducks benefits a lake’s ecosystem. Working with her team and the N.C. Wildlife Federation, she created duck boxes to install at a local lake. The NCWF will care for and service the boxes, and her project is being sustained through internet videos and community education.
Maggie Bruce, Charlotte, Troop 1356. Margaret’s project, Math Tutoring Club, is geared toward students who need extra help in basic math skills because when they don’t grasp the basics in elementary school, they will fall behind in higher level courses. The club she created is being maintained by the school. She also created a website on how to make your own tutoring club, so that any student around the globe can now take this idea and put their own twist on it.
Taylor Buck, Waxhaw, Troop 1057.Taylor’s project, Creating a Toolkit and Implementing Toolkit Suggestions to Improve Participation in Teen Youth Groups, addresses the lack of teen participation in youth groups. She and her team completed research to find out what is effective and ineffective among churches. The research included contacting churches nationwide as well from around the world. Using this information, she made changes to her local church and created a website to summarize the research for the benefit of other youth ministers.
Charly Crosby, Rock Hill, Troop 157. Charly’s project, Highland Park Therapy Garden, addresses depression in the elderly by providing them with a gardening environment, which helps them become more active and stimulates brain function. She also created a package of information explaining the process, so that others may recreate the project in areas that may also be suffering from the same problem. This information was sent to missionaries in Honduras that may be interested in starting a garden in their community.
Amber Cunningham, Charlotte, Troop 3240. Amber’s project, Broken! Busted! Back Together!, addresses the lack of knowledge in the community regarding basic car maintenance. In an effort to help others better understand how their vehicle operates in order to prevent major problems and expenses, she created lesson plans and presented workshops for new drivers about car maintenance. She is working with her auto teacher and with a local garage to share this information outside of the classroom.
Ellis Ewert, Charlotte, Troop 17509. Ellis’ project, Cultivating the Future, addresses the lack of knowledge among elementary students about gardening. She created lesson plans, tying gardening to science, for all levels of elementary students, along with a garden manual for teachers to help them start gardens. She also created a Facebook page about the project and worked with the science specialist at CMS who plans to share the lesson plans on the Elementary Science Wiki Page.
Kylie Fackrell, Charlotte, Troop 1095. Kylie’s project, Planet Earth, addresses living a healthy lifestyle and environmental sustainability. She created a path as well as an outdoor classroom that allows children and parents to walk to a local school without having to use gasoline powered vehicles. The school PTSA has included the path in the bi-monthly beautification day. She created a website that outlined the entire project and sent the website link to other schools so that they can recreate the project.
Samantha Fasciolo, Matthews, Troop 1123. Samantha’s project, Feed the Need, addresses the need to educate middle school students on the importance of healthy eating. She created raised garden beds, along with a lesson plan on how eating choices affects your health. She found that when schools use gardens, it encourages healthy eating habits in the community. The project is being sustained locally, and the lesson plans have been distributed to the Green Teacher Network and the Matthews help center.
Madison Fisher, Charlotte, Troop 3260. Madison’s project, Inside Engineering, educates students on career paths in engineering in order to help bring innovation to our society. She created videos, which are available globally, to explain the different types of engineering fields. Because this is not part of the curriculum in most schools, students are not aware of these types of careers. Teachers are currently using her videos to teach engineering fields in different ways.
Abigail Haupt, Davidson, Troop 2996. Abigail’s project, See the World, addresses that many high school students aren’t aware of study abroad opportunities which help them become contributing members of a diverse global society. Because the number of international students from outside the U.S. far outweighs those departing from the U.S., she created the Woodlawn International Club in order to pave the way for future students to study abroad. They now host The International Study Abroad Forum advertising these opportunities.
Katherine Hosage, Fort Mill, Troop 3676. Katherine’s project, Preservation of Natural Plants, focuses on how native plants are being invaded by plants from other areas and how invasive plants change our forests and impede the functions of native systems. She organized large groups of volunteers to clear invasive plants from Anne Springs Close Greenway and put a plan in place for groups to continue this effort. She also presents the educational information about invasive plants to many groups and on her blog.
Caroline Langdon, Charlotte, Troop 249. Caroline’s Project, Sharon Baptist Church Little Free Library, focuses on making books available to children at the church and in the community in order to improve their literacy skills. She created a Little Library at the church and, through the church, was also able to set up a library in Honduras. She has been educating people about the Little Libraries and how to set them up, and has a Facebook page for the Little Free Library.
Katie Matkins, Charlotte, Troop 732. Katie’s project, Reuse When You Can’t Recycle, focuses on reusing nonbiodegradable materials in a positive way instead of just throwing them away. She organized the collection and delivery of donated coolers and ice packs from medical clinics to Friendship Trays which supplies them with the necessary materials to deliver their meals. She involved the Teen Advisory Board at Teen Health Connection who will take over the project and pass it on to new members every year.
Sarah McCulla, Matthews, Troop 2833. Sarah’s project, Building the Future While Studying the Past, is an initiative to increase civic awareness, informed decision making and critical thinking so that students become more involved citizens. Her belief that exploring the past helps students to see connections in the present inspired her to start a tutoring program for middle and high school students to address these specific concerns. The high school is continuing with the program and is working to expand it to other schools.
Emma Prager, Concord, Troop 334. Emma’s project, Put Your Best Foot Forward, provides shoes to poverty stricken elementary school students so that they are able to participate in PE class, recess and compete in sports. Providing shoes to those in need enhances dignity among underprivileged students, which contributes to them performing well in school. Her project will be sustained locally by a church in her area. Her website provides instructions for this project to continue anywhere in the world.
Charlotte Emily Sanders, Charlotte, Troop 1052. Charlotte’s project, Chameleon’s Journey, addresses childhood bereavement. Camp Chameleon is a camp for grieving children that puts on a play each year to help children deal with their emotions. She turned the script into a book so that children can remember the story and refer back to it when they are down. The book is being distributed to campers each year, being used by KinderMourn and has been requested by counseling centers in other states and countries.
Caroline Shue, Salisbury, Troop 527. Caroline’s project, A Stronger Start, focuses on setting up a tutoring program for children in foster care in her local community because they do not have the resources to get the extra help they need. This is helping the foster children increase their test scores and implement good study habits. She developed a team at her local church that is continuing the project. She also plans to speak at national foster care meetings.
Melissa Smith, Fort Mill, Troop 2972. Melissa’s project, Building Critical Thinking Skills, addresses the issue of children not spending enough time outside, leading to a decline in physical, mental, and emotional health. She created an imaginative outdoor play area at Anne Springs Close Greenway (ASCG) because of the strong correlations between outdoor imaginative play and superior problem solving skills. ASCG will maintain and add to the area that is being used by many students, summer campers and other guests.
Frances Sterling Strickland, Charlotte, Troop 10013. Sterling’s project, Girls Engineering Change, was designed to educate high school students on engineering opportunities as well as inspire the next generation of engineers and overcome the gender gap and perception that engineering is a male occupation. She chartered the only Girls Engineering Change Club within the CMS system and rolled out an event at a high poverty school in Charlotte. The club adviser plans to extend the relationship with the National GEC Organization founded at Duke University.
Katie Taylor, Charlotte, Troop 1052. Katie’s project, Fighting Childhood Obesity with a Vertical Garden, addresses the issue of childhood obesity by incorporating vertical gardens into preschool curriculum. This encourages healthy eating and physical activity as life-long habits. She used living wall planters, made from recycled plastic bottles, to create a vertical garden on the fencing at a child development center. The center is maintaining the garden and incorporated it into their curriculum. The information is being shared through Facebook and through community presentations.
McKayla Wabalas, Huntersville, Troop 445. McKayla’s project, Pattering Paws 5K and Feline Fair, focuses on educating the public about feral cats, the safe and effective management techniques associated with them, and reducing the number of cats euthanized. She has effectively used social media to raise awareness. Her project has been adopted by a local agency that reports that the number of spays/neuters greatly increased after this event, and they have agreed to continue the 5K/Information Fair as an annual event.
Molly Warner, Pineville, Troop 3215. Molly’s project, Take a Stand, Lend a Hand, addresses the issue of bullying with the goal to teach elementary schoolchildren how to handle specific situations. She found that at this age the human brain absorbs the most information and the information will be stored into long-term memory. She presented her project at schools, left resources at the schools, created a YouTube video, and sent the links to schools in CMS and Wake County.
Sara Reid Lewis, Charlotte, Troop 17509. Sara Reid’s project, Shuck and Save, brings awareness to the importance of oysters and their impact on good quality water. She created an oyster bed using recycled oyster shells to address the declining health of our marshes. Over time, live oysters will release larvae and attach to the shells creating a new living oyster bed. Elementary school students will monitor the bed and a biology camp has now incorporated the installation of the oyster reef into the camp’s ongoing curriculum.
Caroline Gorman, Charlotte, Troop 7501. Caroline’s project, Artistic Career Fair, raises awareness about careers in artistic fields. She organized an event with professionals representing many different artistic career options which included Interior Design, Media Producer, Photo Journalist, Fashion Designer, Graphic Designer, and more! The Art Club at her high School will continue to hold this fair every other year. She also created a project planning guide on how to run the fair on her website, so other organizations can plan their own events.
Katherine Smith, Charlotte, Troop 3112. Katherine’s project, Raised Bed/Vertical Garden Project and Food Desert Education, focuses on healthy eating and nutrition education. The Brookstone School lost their garden when they relocated to an urban area, so Katherine combined different vertical gardening models and built a garden that worked with their space. A committee will maintain it and donate extra produce to disadvantaged families. She also shared her Gardening and Nutritional Tips flier to areas identified as local food deserts (areas without fresh food choices nearby).
Olivia Reiff, Concord, Troop 334. Olivia’s project, Household Hazardous Waste Education, teaches others about the proper disposal of hazardous household waste in an effort to prevent polluting the environment. She learned that the cause of improper disposal is lack of education, and she found that her local hazardous waste facility didn’t have proper educational tools when speaking to local groups. She created three lessons, specific to different age levels, that have been shared with the local facility, schools and on her website.