Local Teens Earn Gold Award for Food-Focused Projects
On March 19, more than 30 local teens took home the highest award in Girl Scouting: the Gold Award.
“One of the most impactful parts of Girl Scouting is earning the Girl Scout Gold Award,” said Tamara Woodbury, CEO of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council. “This prestigious award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and challenges girls ages 14–17 to initiate meaningful, sustainable change locally, nationally, or globally through unique ‘Take Action’ projects of their own creation.”
According to Woodbury, 2016 is extra-special as the Girl Scouts are celebrating the milestone 100th Anniversary of the Gold Award. Earning the Gold Award is somewhat comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout. While both achievements require developing and completing a service project, Girl Scouts must create a project that is sustainable and continues to give back to the community long after she moves on. Overall, the process usually takes 18 to 24 months and often involves seeking in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers.
Others recognize the value of the Gold Award, too. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships to award recipients and girls who enlist in the U.S. armed forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.
“Empowering girls to lead is one of the greatest investments we can make,” said Woodbury. “When women adopt leadership roles, they contribute a unique set of skills, ideas and life experiences that enrich and strengthen communities. Girl Scouts and the Gold Award specifically gives girls the support and guidance they need as they step into impactful leadership roles.”
For many of these girls, this award is the culmination of more than 10 years in the Girl Scouts.
Phoenix Bites was thrilled to see some of these enterprising teens’ projects had a culinary connection and wanted to share with readers! Here is a snapshot:
Dorthea Boatwright: Students Cook
Dorthea Boatwright completed the Sow What Journey as a Senior Girl Scout. The journey awakened her interest in food-related issues and inspired her to focus her Gold Award on promoting healthy eating habits to college students. She found college students faced four main barriers to healthy eating: lack of time, money, experience, and cooking supplies. The best way to communicate with her audience was digitally, so she created a blog and YouTube channel that features healthy recipes, cooking tips, and popular discussion topics. All the featured recipes require less than 15 minutes prep time, use inexpensive ingredients, and only need a microwave oven. So far, more than 500 people have visited her blog, which Dorthea continues to update.
Samantha Mitchell: Got Guts?
Samantha Mitchell’s project was inspired by seeing the hardships her close friend experienced while dealing with a gastrointestinal disorder. Her Gold Award focused on increasing awareness and understanding of gastrointestinal issues, specifically short bowel and Megacystis microcolon intestinal hypoperistalsis syndromes. After researching the disorders, she began to educate others about her findings. Samantha created a 10-minute video and brochure that outlined the syndromes, their side effects, treatments, and how others can be supportive. Armed with her knowledge, she made six presentations on the topic at her high school, church and her Girl Scout troop. Overall, Samantha educated more than 300 people and distributed 500 brochures about these gastrointestinal disorders.
Sophia Kirkland-Lopez: Operation Wallflower
Sophia Kirkland-Lopez has always had a desire to become more active in her community. She noticed there was a dilapidated wall at her church, St. Joan of Arc, in need of repair. However, Sophia saw the opportunity to turn the wall into much more. Her goal was to increase knowledge of gardening and sustainability by transforming the wall into a raised garden, which could be used to teach children about vegetation and sustainability. Sophia worked with the leaders at the church and gardening experts to research, plan, organize volunteers, and build the garden. Thanks to Sophia, the children at St. Joan of Arc have a beautiful garden where then can learn and play. Sophia has been a Girl Scout for seven years.
Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing thins girls do as part of Girl Scouts. Over ninety percent of Girl Scouts not only attribute their success in life to Girl Scouts, but they also said they could not have had access to the same experiences anywhere else.