The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, and it represents a met challenge to make a positive, lasting difference. The Girl Scout Gold Award cannot be won, but rather earned by taking the lead on a major project that benefits the community. This prestigious honor makes girls eligible for scholarships and automatically advances them one rank upon joining the military. Additionally, Gold Award recipients report higher success in reaching their goals throughout their lives. For many, the leadership and organizational skills and sense of community and commitment that come from earning the Gold Award set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.
Congratulations to this year’s Girl Scout Gold Award recipients:
Laura Benish, Oshkosh WI
Laura started the Oshkosh North Prom Closet which provides free dresses to girls, no matter their financial need, to wear to Homecoming or Prom. She arranged clothing drives, held fundraisers to purchase dresses, and found a location for the closet. Girl are not required to return their dressed but are encouraged to donate that dress or a different dress back to the closet so it can continue for future years. Since the closet officially opened in Spring 2014, we’ve given out 73 dresses.
Brooke Bushor, Merrill, WI
Brooke built a pavilion at the Merrill Area Recreation Complex. Brooke said, “I was on a traveling softball team, I saw many different softball facilities. All of them had a structure for players and families to use while they were watching or waiting for games. Our own home fields had no shelters. I realized how beneficial it would be to have a shelter.” Her project will provide shelter to sports fans for years to come.
Margaret Bourdon, Withee, WI
Margaret honored local veterans by making it easier for relatives and visitors to find their final resting places. Her original intent was to place flag holders at veteran’s graves in Riverside Cemetery and to create a catalog of the name, military information, and grave site locations of veterans. Riverside Cemetery hold 475 final resting places of veterans but only had 75 flag holders. Margaret was able to place 400 additional flag holders. The project was so successful it expanded to include the Nazareth Lutheran, Emmanuel Lutheran, and Longwood Township Cemeteries. In all Margaret identified and cataloged the final resting places of more than 530 veterans. The catalog can be found at two area libraries, the cemeteries themselves, as well as the Veterans Club.
Cera Cadena, Oshkosh, WI
Cera provided the Oshkosh Area Humane Society (OAHS) with 500 fleece toys for the cats there. The toys are expected to last the facility at least five years. Cadena has put in more than 70 hours volunteering at OAHS in the past year, providing the cats with love and interaction and walking dogs to keep them active. Cera said, “It feels good because I like helping animals,” she said of completing her project, adding she’s gotten her friends involved with the organization as well.”
Kiera Chesney, Appleton, WI
Kiera wanted to encourage young children to enjoy reading. She built and installed little public libraries, or public book boxes, in both Pierce and Memorial Park.
Children in the area are encouraged to take free books from the boxes. People are also free to share their favorite books by leaving them in the little public libraries. Along with creating the public book boxes, Kiera set up a reading program at Jefferson Elementary School.
Delaney Diamond, Oshkosh, WI
Delaney project included planning, fundraising and researching, writing and designing a 20-page booklet, a tri-fold brochure and a Powerpoint presentation that all tell about the WILD Center’s facility, its natural sites and the benefits of native plants. She also built a trailhead structure, complete with sign, that welcomes visitors to the start of the half-mile mowed trail. Lastly, Diamond erected eight posts on the WILD Center property that correspond to numbers in the booklet, and built two Aldo Leopold benches so people have a place to sit to enjoy nature.
Kirsten Grissmeyer, Prentice, WI
Kirsten started an organic garden at her school. Noticing the unhealthy food in her school’s cafeteria, Kirsten worked with a teacher to use a section of the school property to grow vegetables for to use in school breakfasts and lunches. The project also included building rain barrels to sustainably water the garden. This garden will continue on indefinitely with students and faculty committed to providing health options. The garden is maintained by volunteers, student aids, detention students, and physical education classes.
Laura Kaiser, Unity, WI
Laura built a total of ten picnic tables for her community. Five of the picnic tables are handicap assessable. These picnic tables will be used for local events. The tables will provide a lasting contribution that will bring residence together to talk and enjoy meals fostering a sense of community.
Beth Ann Lotton, Neenah, WI
Beth Ann created an interactive learning exhibit for Heckrodt Nature Preserve focusing on wetland mammals. The learning exhibit contains costumes, games, coloring sheets, stuffed animals, and figurines for children to use and play with as they learn about local wildlife. Beth Ann also created and included lesson plans to help educated children.
Lara Trimarco Prebble, Marshfield, WI
Lara prevented the invasive species purple loosestrife from spreading in the McMillan Marsh north of Marshfield, WI. Purple Loosestrife is a problematic plant as it reduces the biodiversity of plants as well as eliminates important food sources for wildlife. There is a beetle species known as Galerucella that eats the Purple Loosestrife’s leaves causing them not to photosynthesize and produce pollen as efficiently, therefore preventing their populations from spreading quickly. This past summer, Lara breed Galerucella in rearing pits and dispersed them throughout the marsh in August in hopes of limiting the Purple Loosestrife population.
Kendall Prehn, Oshkosh, WI
Kendall’s Gold Award project helped to improve the public’s knowledge of Terrell’s Island and its environment. Her project included planning, fundraising, building three Aldo Leopold benches, adding eight trail posts and creating a tri-fold brochure that tells visitors what they are seeing on the trail, which was constructed in 2013. In addition, Prehn also created a PowerPoint presentation that tells of the island’s history and environment.
Rayanne Racine, Algoma, WI
Rayanne founded the Algoma High School Clothing Closet. Rayanne’s goal was to make sure all the students at her school had clothes readily available at no cost for those in need. To get the clothing closet going, Rayanne hosted a series of clothing drives and picked up donations from neighboring communities. This project was so well received other Algoma High School students volunteered to help sort, donate, and make storage units. With Rayanne attending university, a teacher at Algoma High School has taken on the continuation of Rayanne’s project so students will continue to have access to the clothing they need.
Theresa Richards, Oshkosh, WI
Theresa’s Gold Award project addressed childhood obesity by encouraging students to exercise through dance. Her project helped children in kindergarten through 5th grade get active. Richards choreographed and taught different dances to children at six summer school playground sites over a 6-week session. Besides encouraging physical activity, her project also promoted the school songs.
Shelby Ruhland, Elcho, WI
Shelby rebuilt the baseball dugouts in Elcho, WI. Shelby proposed the project to the school, assembled a team, and built the dugouts. The school has promised to maintain the new dugouts so future players can use them during ballgames.
Emily Sherfinski, Schofield, WI
Emily continued the work from her Silver Award project by creating a website to promote James H. Krause Mayors’ Park and the butterfly gardens she both planted and improved. The website she created for the park has been linked to City of Schofield website. Along with the website, Emily created a book about the life cycle of butterflies. Her book can be found at all the public libraries in Marathon County.
Destiny Stoeckert, Oshkosh, WI
Destiny’s Gold Award project at Waukau Creek Nature Preserve helped to revitalize the grounds. She created 20 new plant and tree identification signs and repaired the sign posts; cleaned, sanded, painted and caulked the signs; created and installed four map signs that will make it easier to navigate the trails; painted, re-roofed and helped create a new map for the overall trailhead structure; built two Aldo Leopold benches, two bluebird houses and two wood duck houses; and created a tri-fold brochure about the Waukau Creek Nature Preserve that will be posted on the Winnebago County Parks Department website.
For more photos of Gold Award projects, galas, and presentations, please visit our Flickr page.